Revocable Living Trusts...Do You Need One?

During the past 30 years, The Probate Source has prepared over 3,000 living trusts for our clients. A revocable living trust is one of the best ways to avoid the whole Probate mess when you pass on. If you own a home in California, or have assets which have a value greater than $150,000, a revocable living trust is probably one of the best things you can do for your family. Believe it or not, trusts have been around since at least the 12th century, and possible date back even earlier than that. Trusts are actually very simple in the way they work, but many people like to try and make them complicated. AS OF JANUARY 01, 2017, ASSETS IN A LIVING TRUST AT THE TIME OF PASSING ARE EXEMPT FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA MEDI-CAL RECOVERY RULE. THIS IS HUGE!  If you or your spouse used medi-cal benefits during your lifetime and your assets are in a trust at the time you pass, they are now exempt from the state coming after them to payback yoru medi-cal usage. This alone can be a major reason to have a revocable living trust in place. With the expansion of Medi-Cal in California, many people are using these benefits without any understanding or realiazation that the state can come back when you pass on and require to be paid back from your estate. A basic revocable living trust is perfect for the person or couple who own a home, have some other assets such as bank accounts, some investment accounts and want to have it transfer to their children or others upon their passing without the need for Probate and a lot of complexity.


Type of Trust: Charge:
Single Person's Revocable Trust Package $599.00 *
Married Couple's Revocable Trust Package $799.00 *

* Note: Living trust package fees do not include applicable Notary fees and county recording fees for any real property being transferred into the Trust.


The first step is to complete one of our living trust questionnaires. You can download either a single person's questionnaire or a married couple's questionnaire. Or you can call or email us for one. Once you complete that, we'll schedule a meeting to go over and discuss the questionnaire. Next we'll prepare the trust documents and then set up another meeting so we can go over the documents to make sure they state what you want. Lastly, we'll meet one more time so that you can sign and notarize the documents. Finally, we'll record any deeds there may be for any real estate you may be placing into your trust.


Document Name: Description:
Trust Document This is the main document in the living trust package. This is the document where you spell out who will be in charge of your trust in the event you should pass away or become incapacited. In addition, you spell out how your trust assets will be distributed at the time of your passing.
Last Will & Testament This is a special will that goes with the trust. In the trust world, it is often referred to as a "pour-over will". The reason its called this is that this will literally "catches" anything (assets) that you might have forgotten to transfer into your trust prior to passing, and "pours it over" it into the Trust after you pass on.
Power of Attorney For Financial Matters This document provides a person(s) of your choice to handle all of your financial matters while you're living in the event you are unable to do so for yourself. This document is only good while you're living. In the event of your passing, this document dies with you.
Advanced Health Care Directive This document provides a person(s) of your choice to handle all of your health care related matters while you're living in the event you are unable to do so for yourself. This document is only good while you're living. It also can provide for your wishes in the event your are ever in a terminal, vegatative state. In the event of your passing, this document dies with you.
Schedule A This document is nothing more than a schedule of the assets that you are starting out with in your trust. It will list any real property, bank accounts, investment accounts, etc. that you begin with in your trust. It is really just a list which will be helpful to the person in charge of your trust in the event that you pass on.
Declaration of Trust (Heggstad Declaration) There was a legal ruling back in the 1990s having to do with the Estate of Heggstad. This ruling ended up providing a "relief valve" if you will, to help in situations when somoeone who had a living trust in place at the time of their passing that perhpas inadvertently forget to put some asset into their living trust. This can be helpful in the event that someone left too much in assets out of their trust and prevent Probate from having to take place because of that.
Certification Of Trust This document is basically a short version of the trust document. There are times when you may find that someone or a financial institution wants a photocopy of your trust document. Rather than give them the entire document, you can provide a copy this one. It provides the person or institution asking for a copy with the basic information about your trust without providing all of the details which you may wnat to keep private.
Assignment Of Personal Property This is a short document that basically is a statement that you are assigning all of your interest in personal belongings, household items, etc. are to be part of your living trust.
Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Act (HIPAA) This document authorizes a person(s) of your own choosing to have access to your medical records, medical history, health information, and etc.
Instructions For Distribution Of Your Personal Property This document is basically just a list that you can fill in at any time in which you list where you want any particular items of personal property to go or be distributed to.
Deed(s) To Transfer Real Property Into Your Trust This document(s) are the deed(s) which will transfer your real property into the trust. Included are the necessary county assessor form(s) that are required anytime you transfer a piece of real property into your own living trust.

Common Questions About Living Trusts:

  • Is an Attorney required to prepare a revocable living trust?(Ans: No. A revocable living trust can be prepared in 1 of 3 ways: Have an Attorney do it; Have a non-Attorney (such as The Probate Source) do it; Or do it yourself. All 3 ways are legal. If you do have a very complicated estate, then we would suggest you have an Attorney prepare your trust. We can refer you to reliable trust Attorney(s) that can do that for you if you would like.)
  • Do I lose control of my assets in the trust?
    (Ans: Absolutely not. All of the assets in the trust still belong to you, one hundred percent. You can keep them, sell them, give them away, do anything you want with them.)
  • What if I want to change my trust?
    (Ans: You may change your trust at any time while you are living. This is done through a separate document called a trust amendment. It is very simple to do a trust amendment, and you can do it yourself if you wish.)
  • What if trust law changes?
    (Ans: In general, basic trust law has not changed in hundreds of years and its not likely to. Tax laws that effect trusts do change from time to time, and you may need to think about changing your trust should any major tax laws change which affect trusts. Those are usually the federal and state estate tax exemption levels. For example years ago, a single person's lifetime estate gift limit was $600,000. Currently that limit is over $5,000,000 per person. That means that currently if your estate is under that limit when you pass, there will be no estate taxes due.)
  • How long does it take to have the living trust completed?
    (Ans: Our turn-around time is normally 2 weeks form the time we have complete information from you. If you need one done faster, we can do that, but there may be additional charges.)
  • When do I pay for your living trust services?
    (Ans: As with all services The Probate Source provides, we NEVER ask you for any monies or deposit up front. Payment for our services is due only upon the completeion of our service. The fee for preparing your living trust package is due when we complete the work, and you have your trust package in your hands complete. If for any reason you are not satisifed with our service, you pay nothing.)

© The Probate Source 2019, William C. Hayman - Licensed & Bonded California Legal Document Assistant, Placer County Registration #16-004. NewVision Realty Group, 951 Reserve Drive, Ste 140, Roseville, CA 95678, California BRE #02000748. I (William C. Hayman) am not an attorney. I can only provide self help services at your specific direction.