A trust is a helpful estate planning tool for those people who wish to avoid estate taxes and the costs associated with probate. However, it is not necessarily useful for all people and can often cause great misunderstanding to those who fail to investigate the matter properly.
At Alavi Law Group we will not set up a trust that you do not need. Our firm will work with you to create an estate plan which provides the protection you are seeking without any unnecessary confusion. Our attorney's will discuss your concerns and your needs before recommending any type of plan. We feel that by understanding your situation, we can create an estate plan that is truly reflective of your goals.
Is a Trust Necessary?
A trust is a legal instrument that transfers title to your property to a trustee for the benefit of a third party. A trust allows you to retain possession of your property and avoid probate. You are able to avoid having trust property subject to probate because the property is technically owned by the trust, not you, so it would not be included in your estate when you die.
Some of the trusts which we create for clients include:
- Charitable Trusts: These trusts give property to a charity in order to avoid taxes. We can create contingent trusts that give property to a charity only if you are facing estate taxes.
- Revocable Trusts: A trust that the creator can alter or cancel during his or her lifetime. Only after death does the title to property transfer to the beneficiaries.
- Insurance Trusts: An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) is a trust that provides money to your beneficiaries at the time of your death.
- Marital Trusts: This trust attempts to avoid estate taxes by transferring title of your property to your spouse.
- Special Needs Trusts: This trust is important when you have minor children, and disabled family members.
Probate is the process of settling an estate after a person dies. It is necessary to pass title from the deceased to a beneficiary and can often become both lengthy and costly. The best way to avoid complicated probate is through comprehensive estate planning.
At Alavi Law Group we represent executors, family members, and beneficiaries during the probate and estate administration process. Our firm can advise clients about the most efficient way to avoid and/or settle disputes related to an estate.
The Probate Process
Through careful estate planning it may be possible to avoid the probate process altogether. However, if no will is in place at the time of death, a person's estate will be divided according to state law. If an estate plan is in place, it may still be necessary for the estate to go through the probate process. The estate may be subject to court procedures, including:
- Validating the validity of the will
- Verification of the deceased property
- Opportunity for unpaid creditors to make a claim against the estate
Probate and Estate Litigation
Probate and litigation is difficult to avoid if you have a poorly crafted estate plan. Yet, sometimes even the most comprehensive estate plan may still result in a contested will. We represent people during the probate process and during any disputes regarding the disposition of the estate. Our firm provides effective representation in disputes involving:
- Fiduciary duties
- Will contests
- Allegations of undue influence
- Questions about capacity