Happy New Year! 2016 is here.
One of my new year resolutions for 2016 is finally do my estate planning and living trust.
I've got some questions for who have recently gone through this themselves.
#1 Are most probate/estate planning lawyers well versed in real estate? Is it pretty routine since most people at least own their primary residence that need to be included in living trust
#2 How important is it to find a lawyer locally? who knows the local state, county, city laws? Does it matter if I find a lawyer in a different county or different region of my large state of residence (California).
#3 What special things can a living trust do for me in terms of tax savings, liability risk, etc.. (I know most of these questions will be addressed by the lawyer) but it's always nice to know as much as possible before you talk to a lawyer so that you have the right questions to ask.
Great questions and great goal!
1. No. Most estate planning attorneys are not experienced with real estate investors. I structure my clients' estate planning very differently than most estate planning attorneys would. I focus on asset protection in coordination with estate planning purposes. Most estate planning attorneys only focus on the latter, and therefore construct things in a way that would lose asset protection. An attorney competent in both estate planning AND asset protection can and will achieve both goals.
2. A good local attorney is a great choice. But it can depend on your estate and other goals of whether you need one or not.
3. Estate planning to reduce estate taxes only matters if your estate is over the statutory tax exemptions (currently $5.5 - 11M). If your estate isn't that big, then you should be focusing on your current tax situation and how to reduce it if possible. A family trust (the estate planning kind) does not provide any asset protection. That's why it's important to go with an attorney who understands both.
There are other things to consider, but that should get you enough to ask of attorneys!
Hi @Jeffrey S. Breglio how could a irrevocable living trust be structured to lose asset protection? Or are you talking about other estate planning?
The irrevocable trust isn't usually an estate planning tool. It is different than a family living trust (revocable) used for estate planning purposes. We rarely use irrevocable trusts even in asset protection of real estate (they don't function in a way that meets most clients' needs).
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