SMEED CPA, Inc | 201 Sand Creek Road, Suite F | Brentwood, CA 94513 | Phone: 925-634-2344

       

 

 

Michael Uadiale, CPA

SMEED CPA, Inc.

 

Call our Testimonial Hotline & give us your feedback at:

 

800-609-9006 extension 3638

 


 

Other Articles

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This Month's Feature Articles

- Tax Relief for Those Affected By Natural Disasters
- Lending Money to Family? Make it a Tax-Smart Loan
- Living Trusts 101
- Hobby or Business? Why It Matters

Tax Tips

- Moving This Year? 10 Helpful Tax Tips
- Take Advantage of Miscellaneous Deductions
- Do You Qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit?
- Five Important Tips on Gambling Income and Losses

Financial Planning Tips

- Asset Allocation Adjustments
- Health Spending Checkup
- Review Budget vs. Actuals
- Estimate Your 2012 Tax Liability

 


 

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Do I Need A Living Trust?

Living Trusts 101

 

A trust, like a corporation, is an entity that exists only on paper but is legally capable of owning property.

 

A flesh and blood person, however, must actually be in charge of the property; that person is called the trustee.

 

You can be the trustee of your own living trust, keeping full control over all property legally owned by the trust. There are many kinds of trusts.

 

A living trust (also called an inter vivos trust) is simply a trust you create while you're alive, rather than one that is created at your death under the terms of your will.

 

All living trusts are designed to avoid probate. Some also help you save on death taxes, and others let you set up long-term property management.

 

Note: Property held in trust is actually "owned" by the trustees of the trust, subject to the rights of the beneficiaries. The trust itself doesn't actually own anything.

 

Do I need a living trust?  Property you transfer into a living trust before your death doesn't go through probate. The successor trustee, the person you appointed to handle the trust after your death, simply transfers ownership to the beneficiaries you named in the trust

 

In many cases, the whole process takes only a few weeks and there are no attorney or court fees to pay. When the property has all been transferred to the beneficiaries, the living trust ceases to exist.

Is it expensive to create a living trust?
The cost of creating a living trust depends on what you want to achieve. The more complicated a living trust is, the more expensive it will be. Also important to note is that while the fees associated with creating a living will are paid upfront a living trust actually saves you money and time by avoiding probate court.

Is a trust document ever made public, like a will?
A will becomes a matter of public record when it is submitted to a probate court, as do all the other documents associated with probate - inventories of the deceased person's assets and debts, for example. The terms of a living trust, however, need not be made public.

Does a trust protect property from creditors?
Holding assets in a revocable trust does not shelter those assets from creditors. A creditor who wins a lawsuit against you can go after the trust property just as if you still owned it in your own name.

After your death, however, property in a living trust can be quickly and quietly distributed to the beneficiaries (unlike property that must go through probate). That complicates matters for creditors; by the time they find out about your death, your property may already be dispersed, and the creditors have no way of knowing exactly what you owned (except for real estate, which is always a matter of public record). It may not be worth the creditor's time and effort to try to track down the property and demand that the new owners use it to pay your debts.

On the other hand, probate can offer a kind of protection from creditors. During probate, known creditors must be notified of the death and given a chance to file claims. If they miss the deadline to file, they're out of luck forever.

Do I need a trust if I'm young and healthy?
Probably not. At this stage in your life, your main estate planning goals are probably making sure that in the unlikely event of your premature death, your property is distributed how you want it to be and, if you have young children, that they are cared for. You don't need a trust to accomplish those ends; writing a will, and perhaps buying some life insurance is sufficient.

Can a living trust save taxes?
A simple probate-avoidance living trust has no effect on either income or estate taxes. More complicated living trusts, however, can greatly reduce your federal estate tax bill if you expect your estate to owe estate tax at your death.

If you're wondering whether you need a living trust give us a call at 925-634-2344. We'll help you figure out the answer.
 



Would You Give Me Your
Feedback & Testimonial on Our Hotline?

 

Hello its Michael Uadiale, CPA of SMEED CPA Inc.  Weve just installed a toll-free number that I would like for you to call and tell me how you think we are doing as your CPA firm.

 

Just dial 800-609-9006 extension 3638 and follow the instructions.  If weve done a good job please let me know.  And if we can improve on anything, please mention that too.

 


 

Help Us Be Found on Google!

 

Also as we expand our business, we find more and more people are using the Internet and Google to look for us by searching Brentwood accountant or Brentwood CPA.

 

When they do this we want to be FOUND on GOOGLE.  One way you can help us is to give us an ONLINE REVIEW on our Google Maps/Places listing --->

 

Just click here to go to our Google Listing for SMEED CPA.  Scroll down to the Review area.

 

It may say:  Been here? Rate and review

 

You will click on the Rate and review link and then log into Google, then give us a review!

 

You can choose between 1 and 5 STARS and write in what you think about the tax or accounting work we have done for you.

 

It's that simple.  Thank you in advance for your help and cooperation!

 


 

As always you can call our offices if you have any questions about these or any other accounting related issues, at 925-634-2344. 

 

Regards, Michael Uadiale, CPA, ACA, CGMA

Managing Partner, SMEED CPA, Inc.

 
 

 

SMEED CPA, Inc | 201 Sand Creek Road, Suite F | Brentwood, CA 94513
The Next Frontier CPA Firm | www.SmeedCPA.com | info@smeedcpa.com
Phone: 925-634-2344 | Fax: 925-634-2346 | Cell: 925-207-6771