How to Transfer Property Into a Living Trust in California
It’s not your fault if you never really understood how living trusts work to your benefit, there’s a good dose of legal jargon around most explanations, making it sound like it’s something expensive or exclusively for the rich.
In this article, we’ll explain in simple and clear terms what a living trust is and how helps you set up one in a few minutes, including the steps to transfer your property into a living trust here in California.
Not a resident of California? Find out the living trust requirement for other states below:
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What is a Living Trust?
A living trust, whether revocable or irrevocable, helps you legally entrust your wealth (formally called assets or estate) to a beneficiary of your choice. A living trust helps you specify who gets what in the event that you become deceased or incapacitated while still alive. A revocable trust is subject to changes or even outright cancellation, by the trustor, while an irrevocable trust stays unchangeable and permanent.
Everyone, not just rich people, with an appreciable amount of assets can take advantage of a living trust to avoid some confusion or quarrel among their loved ones when they are no more.
Is a Living Trust a Will?
Both a living trust and a will are legally enforceable deeds that deal with the transfer of property ownership rights in the event of the owner’s absence. However, a living trust differs from a will in that it eliminates the need for probate — the tedious legal process a beneficiary goes through to convince a court that you have bequeathed an asset to them.
Here are other ways a living trust compares with a will:
A Living Trust…
- Involves a simple and easy process for the transfer of assets
- Is not open to the public
- Becomes active while you're still alive and beyond death
- It is usually expensive to set up and maintain
- Eliminates the need for a legally appointed guardian in the event that beneficiaries are minors
- Has a rather tedious legal process to transfer assets
- Becomes open to the public upon activation
- Is inactive while you're alive and only takes effect at death
- Requires the need for a guardian where beneficiaries are minors
- It costs significantly lower to set up and maintain
Steps to Setting Up a Living Trust in California
Just as you plan for uncertainties with insurance, you should also prepare for your assets and properties in the event that something happens to you. This is what a living trust helps you achieve. The steps to setting up a living trust in California are very simple and straightforward: You’ll need to:
Choose your preferred type of trust
You start by selecting what type of trust you want to have. You may choose to have a joint trust if you intend to prepare the document together with your spouse or a loved one, or an individual trust if it is just you making the decisions about who gets what.
Put a current dollar value around your assets
The next step is to have an estate evaluator determine the current worth of all your real estates and other assets, especially those you wish to include in your trust. Know also that only one type of living trust exempts you from accruing property taxes.
Select who becomes your trustee
While you can appoint yourself or some other person to be a trustee (which is a technical term for the person who is legally identified to have opened a trust), you would need another party to be your trustee. The trustee is bound by the legal duties stipulated in the trust and would be the person to manage the assets listed in the trust and carry out all your instructions for transfer and ownership as you have stated in the trust.
Draft a trust document
Once you’ve chosen a trust type, value of your assets, and nominated a trustee, you can go ahead to draft a trust document. The average California trust attorney would do a professional job for anything between $500 to $3000 and above, depending on the value of your assets as well as their level of experience.
Or, you can find thousands of templates online that cost less than $100. Your perfect option is DoNotPay, which can create a professional, error-free trust.
DoNotPay Helps You Make A Living Trust!
Now, California residents like you can take advantage of the world’s first robot lawyer, , to prepare your trust at any time! From start to finish, it’s got you covered. Here’s the steps you need to follow:
- Sign-in to and go to the Revocable Living Trust product
- Tell us what state you live in
- Assign your trustee(s) and beneficiary(ies)
- Assign assets and properties
- Tell us where you are getting the document notarized
That’s it! Getting your very own revocable trust has never been easier!
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