Folsom Trust Litigation Lawyers

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Folsom Trust Litigation Attorneys

Trust and estate planning law is a unique area of legal practice, as it touches almost all people’s lives at some point or another. However, it’s often relegated to a future to-do list. It’s easy to push estate planning to the back of your mind, but to protect your loved ones and your assets, it’s best to avoid that temptation. When it comes to planning for the future, there is no time like the present. It could be crucial in determining that your wishes are followed concerning your assets.

If you’re taking steps to develop a will or craft your estate plan, contact our firm. Whether you’re dealing with complicated estate proceedings while grieving a loved one’s death or are taking responsible action to design your own estate and living trust, you will likely require legal assistance.

There are many ways to get your affairs in order, from extensive and elaborate planning to simple and straightforward transactions. Often, individuals need the help of a litigation attorney to deal with unfortunate situations regarding estates, trusts, and probate that sometimes arise within families or the legal system. McCunn Law specializes in trusts, which are an excellent avenue for cutting out issues with probate and assuring that your affairs and assets are neatly in order for the benefit of loved ones. Who doesn’t hope to leave behind a legacy while making life easier for those you care about?

A Folsom Trust Litigation Attorney You Can Trust Call (916) 827-3427

Who Needs the Help of Trust Lawyers?

Can you create a trust without an attorney? You may have heard that people can perform some legal tasks according to trust and estate law through DIY online services. While it is true that this is possible, it is not right for everyone and runs the risk of not holding up as strongly in cases where outcomes are not entirely straightforward or a claim is made. Even the most basic processes benefit from the trained eye of an attorney to avoid costly mistakes.

Maybe you have heard or think that trust lawyers work only for the wealthy—that an individual only needs legal assistance with estate planning from an attorney if they have millions of dollars, numerous assets, and a sprawling estate.

It is sometimes true that those with more possessions and wealth need more intricate estate planning assistance from a trust or estate planning attorney. However, more does not always mean “more complicated,” just as having fewer assets does not mean one’s estate planning journey will be entirely straightforward. Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all process, and McCunn Law does not approach it that way. The process may be more attainable and beneficial than some realize, while others know that they need assistance and are just looking for the right team to help.

How Do I Find a Good Trust Attorney?

There are three major items to consider when selecting a trust attorney. First, you want to choose someone who specializes in trust law. It seems obvious, but depending on your knowledge of the legal system, you may think that just any lawyer will do. You may cut many corners unintentionally if you do not hire an expert in estate planning and trusts. Second, it is often important to hire someone within your geographic area, where the estate is, or where its assets are held. This is because laws regarding probate, taxes, inheritance, and disputes that arise within these areas of practice vary by state and sometimes by county.

You want to hire an attorney or legal team that knows your area in terms of property and asset value and tax and probate law, as well as the community culture and values. Last, it is imperative to select a legal plan of action that is the right scale and price for your family’s unique needs. McCunn Law offers a range of trust and will planning services, big and small. A legal team can help you assess how much or how little assistance you need and walk you through the pricing process so that getting important affairs sorted is not any more stressful than it needs to be.

How Much Does a Trust Attorney Charge for a Living Trust?

Typically, in the United States, a trust attorney charges between $1,000 to $2,000 to set up a living trust for an individual. For a married couple, the cost is around $2,000 to $2,500. However, fees depend on the complexity of the trust and the attorney or legal team you choose. Again, there are cheaper options where you can draw up a living trust remotely. While any legal professional would advise you that something is better than nothing, you’d be gambling on whether these documents are legally viable across the board and whether they would hold up in court should an issue or claim arise.

The more complex an individual or family’s situation, the more imperative it is to avoid cutting corners while drawing up a living trust. Though the fees vary, they are a relatively small price to pay for peace of mind. Often, legal teams have tiers of cost breakdowns, depending on the attorney’s experience and level of practice. Some scenarios that practically guarantee an individual or married couple need the assistance of an estate lawyer are multiple marriages, children, step and half children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, multiple properties, extensive assets and investments, estates that have been inherited from someone else, family rifts, and much more.

What Do Trust Attorneys Do?

Trust lawyers specialize in developing living trusts with clients who desire this arrangement for their property, investments, and other assets. Trusts vary from wills and have unique benefits, which we will further expand upon. Often, like the team at McCunn Law, trust attorneys specialize in adjacent areas of law, further expanding their area of legal knowledge and expertise. These areas include but are not limited to tax law, probate law, divorce law, mitigation, litigation, adoption, custody, conservatorship, and emancipation. Essentially, trust lawyers are attorneys focusing on the inner workings and complexities of family life and how people’s journey through life and death intertwines with the legal system. They help you plan and streamline your trust to maximize benefits and minimize disputes and difficulties. Hiring someone to assist with planning your trust helps you now and your family later.

How Is a Trust Different From a Will?

You may have heard the words “trust” and “will” used interchangeably. They both are plans for assets, estates, and investments that an individual or couple puts in place to plan for eventualities. However, wills are contingent exclusively on the death of the person whose will it is and have to be opened in probate. Trusts are not contingent on death (although that might be their purpose) and do not have to go through probate. When an individual or couple does pass away, the probate process can be very stressful for their beneficiaries, as it is a long process of withholding assets, even when the decedent has provided a viable will during life.

Who Needs a Trust?

There are two primary reasons an individual or married couple needs trust, and they apply to a broader base than one might imagine. The first is owning real estate here in California. Real estate prices are high in most areas of the state, including Folsom, being relatively close to the Bay Area. That can mean that people who do not necessarily consider themselves wealthy may still have a considerable amount of wealth in their homes, especially on scale with the national average. If you own a home in California and want to avoid the delay and potential hassles of probate, this is a good enough reason in and of itself to create a trust. The second reason someone might opt for a trust is that they have minor children and wish to avoid the considerable cost, time, and parameters of guardianship.

Do I Need a Trust or a Will?

As mentioned above, the reasons for needing a trust are not as far-reaching as one might imagine. Someone who owns a home and/or has children may be wise to select a trust just because it will make life easier down the line. However, opting for a will is viable for some people. If, when one eventually passes on, they do not mind the idea of their assets going through the probate process and their loved one waiting for (and potentially risking something going wrong with) said proceedings, then a will may be chapter to execute.

Wills and trusts are both important, and it is better to have either than to be completely unprepared, of course. However, a trust simplifies some aspects of the process, can be easier on loved ones, and even offers more options while the benefactor and beneficiary are both still living, rather than inheriting only from a decedent. A person may also opt to do both—to have a trust for a particular aspect of their assets and have a more general living directive.

Additionally, one may opt to have a will as a matter of security up until the point that they want to invest in creating a trust, possibly after amassing more wealth, property, or assets. Lastly, spouses who have separate finances may opt for one to have a will and the other to have a trust. The process can be tailored to the client’s specific needs.

Stages of a Trust

Trusts go through several distinct stages. First, they are created by the trust maker (the person who set up the trust). Then, it is a common occurrence that the trust maker may become incapacitated before passing away. The trustee acts on their behalf. Next, the trustee fully takes over in the event of the trust maker’s death. Assets are dispersed among the beneficiaries. Beneficiaries have varying degrees of involvement depending on the type of trust (revocable or irrevocable). When a trust has served its function, it may be dissolved; however, some trusts exist long term depending on the type of assets and purpose they serve.

What Is Probate?

If you have not experienced the probate process, it can be a bit unfamiliar. So, what is probate? Probate is the legal process of administering a person’s estate and/or assets following their death. During this process, a last will and testament are verified to ensure an authentic and legally binding document. There are specific probate attorneys and government officials who deal with the probate process.

Most states or jurisdictions have a set amount of time that assets must sit in waiting within the probate process. This is to ensure that the decedent (the person who has died) does not have any debts owed posthumously. These debts could come from nearly any source imaginable—medical fees, credit card debt, unpaid personal debts that can be proven in a court of law, etc. In California, the probate process takes a minimum of six months to play out but can take as long as two years or more. Avoiding these proceedings is one of several reasons that clients opt for a living trust. However, someone with no debts and few-to-no assets who exclusively need a directive for something like who will care for their children in the event of untimely death may opt for a will.

Do You Need a Probate Attorney?

Though a primary function of creating a trust is to cut out the complications of probate court, some may find themselves needing a probate attorney’s assistance. Probate attorneys assist those who survive the decedent, including the executor of a last will and testament and the beneficiaries, with issues that may occur. These include a variety of responsibilities that may arise during the probate process, such as identifying and securing probate assets, attaining appraisals of the decedent’s property items, ensuring vital documents are filed in a timely manner in accordance with the probate court, and more. A probate attorney can also help educate those dealing with a confusing probate process for the first time, likely during a period of grief and difficulty.

When Should You Create a Living Trust?

A living trust is an important tool, but it is used in very particular situations. Some reasons someone might be ready to create a living trust are:

  1. They prefer to avoid probate.
  2. They have children or grandchildren whom they wish to be their beneficiary(ies).
  3. They have reached a certain age.
  4. They want to make changes to an existing will and are interested in opting for a trust instead when these changes are made.
  5. They have had life changes such as marriage, divorce, birth or loss of a child/beneficiary, or recently inheriting assets or estate(s) themselves.
  6. They own a home in a high-value area such as California, particularly one that is paid off or has a large amount of equity.
  7. They wish to make proceedings easier on family members posthumously as a final act of love and care.

Though these are a few common reasons, this list is not exhaustive. There are many benefits to a trust, and some individuals may opt for a trust for no other reason than personal preference over a will and vice versa.

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts

What sets a revocable trust apart is that it can be changed at any time by the trustee. The living person can act as a trustee until such a time that a pre-determined trustee takes over the trust. An irrevocable trust requires the consent of the beneficiaries to make changes once the trust has been created.

Do I Need a Lawyer for a Revocable Trust?

A significant benefit of a trust is that they are changeable and that the benefactor can act as a trustee while they are alive. They can also set up the trust so that probate can be avoided, as previously mentioned. However, if you are in the position of trustee of a revocable trust, you may still need the assistance of a lawyer. This is true whether it is the trust you have set up yourself or if you are the trustee of a trust. Though the trustee has more freedom to alter a revocable trust without the listed beneficiaries’ explicit consent, there are still issues that arise—particularly after the death of the trust maker. Avoiding probate does not equate to avoiding all potential issues with estate and inheritance issues. A trust may owe state or federal taxes. Beneficiaries may disagree. Roles may be temporarily unclear if a trust maker is living but incapacitated. Trust lawyers can assist with these common issues to help a new trustee take the best approach.

Inheritance Disputes

Inheritance disputes occur when a person with interest in an estate raises an issue with how assets are being administered. Problems can occur whether the decedent made a last will and testament (traditional will) or was a trust maker (created a trust). Trusts do typically have clearer parameters that help to avoid disputes such as these. However, they do not prevent all types of disputes from arising. Such issues can cause significant stress and difficulty for a new trustee. McCunn Law specializes in inheritance disputes, whether they pertain to trusts or not. Essentially, trusts can cut down the risk of disputes, but legal help is here should they arise.

Estate Planning in Folsom, California

Estate planning is essential for everyone, but California’s high cost of living and high home value make it an especially relevant and imperative legal field here in the Golden State. Many people may assume that a traditional will, even just one that is handwritten in a lockbox or made with an online service, will suffice for estate and end-of-life planning. However, it is important to consider that there is often more than meets the eye with assets. For example, a modest home in the Folsom area that once was not so difficult to purchase may now be worth half a million dollars or more.

Though the word “estate” conjures up visions of gated homes and significant wealth, every home is an estate to that family, and California family homes often come with a hefty dose of equity. Beyond the consideration of home and property value, though, many people seek the legal expertise of a team of attorneys like those at McCunn Law to ensure they are doing the best they can for loved ones when planning for the future. By eliminating probate proceedings and offering a clear-but-flexible directive, trusts are a vital part of estate planning.

About McCunn Law Estate Planning Lawyers

Drummond T. McCunn has owned his law firm for 14 years since leaving a professional career in Silicon Valley to practice independently in the various areas of family law. He has closed over 1,600 cases with a combination of efficiency and compassion. The team at McCunn Law has more than 40 years of experience in the field, serving the Northern California community. McCunn Law has expertise in the fields of family law, divorce, adoption, child custody, incapacity, durable power of attorney, estate planning, trusts, emancipation, conservatorships, and more. It is McCunn Law’s privilege to serve the Granite Bay and Folsom communities, as well as the greater Sacramento area. With experience ranging from suburbs and rural areas to the heart of San Francisco’s Silicon Valley, this team knows California law.

Additionally, McCunn Law offers six unique service models within the firm to cater to client’s unique needs and goals. These models include representation, self-representation, mediation (typical with divorce and custody disputes), collaboration (also common in family law cases), coaching (assistance with self-representation), and document services. We consider the specifics of each case before moving forward, but regardless of the model, we use our compassion and experience to help you get the best outcomes. McCunn offers care and compassion as well as straightforward communication in taking on cases both big and small. If you need assistance forming a trust or other estate planning or legal proceedings, contact McCunn Law today for a consultation.

Why Choose McCunn Law

Our methods for handling business owner divorce and family law issues are unique. We offer legal assistance for a range of family law cases, including:

Mr. McCunn specializes in a holistic, project management approach which empowers you to make your own decisions throughout the process. He has a reputation as a peacemaker and his honest and pragmatic attitude towards divorce and other family law issues ensures you only pay for the services you need during your case.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.

“McCunn Law is a high-quality and highly knowledgeable legal team. I went into a consultation regarding child custody and was extremely happy with the plan and ultimately the results of my case. They create a plan with the client’s needs and wants in mind. Drummond is also great working with regarding what kind of budget a client would be able to afford. If I have any more legal needs in the future this is the office I will use every time.”

Megan P.