Can I Do My Own Living Trust in California?

A man filling out his questionnaire to complete his living trust. Reach out to TrustHandled and complete yours.

A living trust is a legal document that creates a trust while you are alive, and the beneficiaries you assign to the living trust receive the assets you assign to them upon your death. In other words, a living trust is a lot like a will in the sense that it outlines your wishes regarding your assets upon your passing. A living trust, however, goes further than a will by bypassing the cumbersome probate process and ensuring that your legacy passes smoothly to your loved ones – in accordance with your wishes and with the fewest legal interferences possible.

You can create your own valid living trust in California

and TrustHandled is well-positioned to help you make that happen. Visit us today and review options.


A Note about Wills

While a living trust can do the job of a will, it does not eliminate the need for a choice. For example, suppose every asset you own is not included in your trust. In that case, those assets that are left out will need to be distributed to your relatives in accordance with California’s laws of intestacy – or inheritance laws. This means they may be distributed very differently than you would have specified. Because your wealth and overall assets are likely to evolve over time, there’s no way to guarantee that your living trust will always be up to date. This makes having a will an excellent means of addressing anything that didn’t make its way into your living trust.


Your Living Trust

Trusts fall into two primary categories that include revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts. Both are designed to help protect your assets and to distribute them according to your wishes when the time comes. Both varieties of trusts include all the following primary actors:

  1. The grantor who creates the trust, which in this case is you
  2. The beneficiaries whom you assign to benefit from the trust – or to whom the assets are distributed
  3. The trustee who manages the fund and ultimately distributes the assets therein

Revocable trusts are living trusts, and they can be changed after their creation. Irrevocable trusts, on the other hand, cannot be altered once they’re created and executed. A living trust affords you the opportunity to be both the trust’s grantor and the trustee who manages the assets within. In other words, a living trust allows considerable flexibility and control, which makes it a beautiful estate planning tool. Your revocable trust becomes irrevocable only upon your death, which means it can be changed or voided at any time prior.

The primary benefit of an irrevocable trust is that it can significantly reduce the estate taxes beneficiaries experience. This benefit, however, only applies when the assets are exceptionally high.


Protecting Your Loved Ones

By setting up a living trust, you demonstrate your commitment to your loved ones, and you may save them significant time, effort, grief, and legal expense. When you leave assets in your will, the probate process can take a considerable amount of time, and it often requires professional legal counsel and attendant legal expenses. By employing a living trust instead, the distribution process is streamlined and may not require any attorney’s services.

While many states have adopted the Uniform Probate Code, which simplifies and expedites the probate process, California is not one of these states. California has, however, implemented a somewhat streamlined probate process for smaller estates.


The Steps Involved in Creating a Living Trust

There are several basic steps involved in creating a living trust that reflects your wishes in the State of California, including:

  1. Determine whether you’ll be creating an individual or shared trust. If you’re married, you and your spouse co-own most of your assets, and you plan on leaving most of these assets to one another, a shared trust is likely the best route.
  2. Decide which assets you want to include in your living trust.
  3. Name a successor trustee, which refers to the person who will take over the distribution of the trust upon your death or will manage the trust upon your incapacitation.
  4. Determine the beneficiaries of your trust, which means the people to who your assets will go upon your passing.
  5. Create the California trust documents – TrustHandled is well-prepared to guide you seamlessly through this process.
  6. Have the documents notarized, which involves signing them in front of a notary.
  7. Change the titles of any assets that are included in your living trust to reflect your current ownership as a trustee.

Getting your living trust right is critical to its strength as an estate planning tool, and TrustHandled is here to provide you with the necessary California documents and to guide you through the steps necessary to provide you with the peace of mind you’re looking for. We’ll help you make the determinations that apply to your situation – allowing you to move seamlessly from step to step with confidence and purpose.


Create Your California Living Trust with TrustHandled Today

A living trust can help to ensure that your assets flow directly to your loved ones – in accordance with your wishes – when the time comes, which allows them to avoid the probate process and the headaches and expenses that go along with it. While estate planning is a complicated area of the Law, TrustHandled is a high-quality self-help estate-planning space that provides detailed instructions and clearly defined steps necessary to create a living trust that accurately reflects your legacy and your wishes.

TrustHandled has an impressive track record of helping customers with no legal background create legally binding living trusts at a fraction of the cost attorneys would charge. We start with straightforward questionnaires that guide you confidently through the process – sending you information and instructions that apply to your unique circumstances. And once your living trust is just the way you want it, TrustHandled will securely store it for you online – where it’s safe from loss and destruction and is always available to be reviewed, amended, or retrieved and put into action.