Specialization in Estates & Trusts

We have over 23 years of experience working with estates & trusts. Let us help you and your best interests!If you are currently in need of assistance with an estate or trust in the Orange County or Mission Viejo Area, contact us.

The Law Office of Robert R. Beauchamp Estates & Trusts Specialization

The law of trusts and estates is generally considered the body of law which governs the management of personal affairs and the disposition of property of an individual in anticipation of the event of such person's incapacity or death, also known as the law of successions in civil law. Its techniques are also used to fulfil the wishes of philanthropic bequests or gifts through the creation, maintenance and supervision of charitable trusts.

In order to expedite the process of transferring assets to intended beneficiaries, some people choose to arrange their property so that it can bypass the probate process upon their deaths. For example, placing property into a trust before death (as opposed to a testamentary trust) will often allow the accomplishment of the objectives of property distribution without coming under the jurisdiction of a court and the possible redistribution after a lengthy contested probate process and trial. Similarly, jointly held property (in common law systems), life insurance, annuities, US Tax Code section 401(k) Retirement Plans or Individual Retirement Accounts (also known as Registered Retirement Savings Plans in Canada) will also avoid probate as these devices allow property to transfer to beneficiaries outside the probate process.

Special needs trusts are created to ensure that beneficiaries who are developmentally disabled or mentally ill can receive inheritances without losing access to essential government benefits.

Another major factor in trusts and estates law may be to minimize one's tax exposure. After an applicable exempt amount, the United States federal estate tax very quickly approaches 50% of one's taxable estate. The proper use of trusts may reduce one's tax burden. The applicable exempt amount is currently two million dollars in 2006. The exempt amount is scheduled to increase to three and a half million in 2009, after which the estate tax is temporarily repealed for one year in 2010. The year after, the estate tax is scheduled to be reinstated, with the previous exemption of one million dollars.

Trusts may also allow people a certain limited amount of control of how the amount held by the trust is handled. For example, one could leave money for somebody who may not be mature enough to handle money, and state that the money can only be used for health, education, support and maintenance of that person until the age of 35, upon which time the remaining income and principal will be distributed. One can also distribute one's assets to charitable purposes by creating an irrevocable charitable trust that may distribute the principal or the income of the trust much in the same manner as a private foundation.

 

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