Is a Living Trust Right For You?


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Heritage Living Trust, Financial Consultants - No License Required, Scotts Valley, CA

What People Are Saying About Heritage Trust

"I have a close personal friend, who is now 90 years old. She had a trust from Heritage Living Trust created about 3 years ago and since that time has been diagnosed with dementia. A week ago, after checking herself out of the hospital, the public guardian filed for conservatorship, asking the probate court to appoint them, the public guardian, as her new caregiver/conservator. My friend has no family left, but due to her Trust which was created while she was of sound mind, declared her wishes as to who she wanted to serve as her conservator if the time ever came to when she would need to be conserved. Normally, a non-relative conservatorship would be fairly difficult to implement, but in this case, the named individual in her estate plan came to the court and told the court that they desire to serve as my friend's conservator and will accept that responsibility. This morning, the probate attorney and the public guardian agreed that the named individual in the estate plan created by Heritage has precedence, and that the trust was sufficient to place that individual as her conservator.

If it were not for her Heritage trust, she would be another case added to the already overloaded government workers conservatorship pile. Instead, an individual who she loves, and who loves her, is now fulfilling my friend's final wishes and providing for her the end of life care that she deserves after having worked hard for the past 90 years."       

R. Jones...California 


"Thank you Heritage Staff and Associates for providing the type of customer service a consumer only dreams of. I am so impressed with the accurate and timely response to my many questions and how everything is explained in terms I can understand. Most impressive is the ability to make changes to our trust at any time without an extra charge. I am confident that Heritage Trust has given me the security my family needs for the future."
 Z. Gibbs...Colorado

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"In 2003 when I was looking for someone to do my Living Trust, I found . I met with the staff at their office and we started the process. The service was and is above and beyond my expectations. In 2007, after marrying again, my husband and I had them set up a new A-B Trust, which we have amended several times since then, at no extra cost. We have been completely satisfied and send them Kudos for all their patience, hard work and professionalism." 
Chris and George S., Pacific Grove, California

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    A Living Trust Would Have Prevented These Situations...Consider Them Carefully!

    A Living Trust would have prevented this situation

    Martha had been a widow for just one year when she put all of her property, including her house, into joint ownership with her married son. She did this thinking that when she died her property would automatically go to her son without the need for Probate.

    Several years later, her son and his wife separated and Martha decided to sell her house so she could move in with her son. But she soon discovered that she could not sell the house without her daughter-in-law's signature on the deed. The daughter-in-law was still legally married to her son and was entitled by law to a marital interest in the property. The title company would not insure clear title to the buyer without the daughter-in-law's signature because it was not clear what her interest would be.

    Her daughter-in- law refused to sign unless she got part of the money when the house was sold. Martha was stuck! She didn't know that joint ownership with a married person can include that person's spouse. And, because Martha had placed her house in joint ownership with her son, Martha lost control of her own home!

    A Living Trust would have prevented this situation

    Bill and Gloria were an elderly couple who put everything they owned, including their home and stock, in their adult unmarried daughter's name. They believed that when they were both gone this would avoid Probate and all their property would pass directly to their daughter, who was an only child. A year later, Bill died of a heart attack. Several months after that, the daughter was killed in an auto accident.

    Gloria never believed she would ever survive her husband and her daughter. To add to her distress, Gloria now owned nothing in her own name. Everything was in her daughter's name! She was forced to Probate her daughter's estate to get back her own property.

    During this long process she had to rely on the court to grant her living expenses. Sometimes the court would approve expenses. . . sometimes not. And, during a declining stock market, she helplessly watched the value of her stocks fall to only a fraction of their previous value because the court could not react in time for them to be sold quickly enough. Gloria lost her financial independence plus a substantial portion of her assets to Probate just trying to get back what was hers in the first place.

    The consequences if a joint owner cannot sign

    Most married couples own their property jointly, and they assume that if one of them becomes disabled or incompetent, the other can continue to take care of their personal and financial affairs without interruption. But look at what happened to Henry and Mary.

    Henry and Mary were successful and responsible adults. They made safe investments and planned carefully for their future. They owned everything jointly and even had Wills, leaving everything to each other. But in just seconds their lives changed dramatically.

    Henry was in a tragic car accident and suffered extensive head injuries and brain damage. Mary could continue to write checks and pay their day-to-day bills because only one of their signatures was required on their checking account. But soon the cash started running out, and Mary was unable to sell any of their jointly-owned property without both signatures, and since Henry could not sign his name, the only way Mary could sell their property was to place Henry into Probate Guardianship and have the court sign for him. Henry's Will was no help at all because he was still alive.

    Mary had no idea how expensive and cumbersome this legal joint ownership could be. Not only did she have to deal with Henry's situation and the effects of this tragedy on their personal lives, but she had to deal with an impersonal unfeeling court system. She was especially frustrated when she had to pay for the court to approve the sale of their own property and then get the court's approval on how Henry's share of that money would be used, even when it was used to pay for their personal bills and take care of Henry! When Henry finally died more than five years later, Mary found herself back in Probate Court - this time to Probate Henry's Will.

    It can happen to you if you own property through joint ownership

    Many older parents list their adult sons and daughters as joint owners on their property (especially real estate and CD's), mainly to avoid Probate when they die. Many mistakenly assume that their adult children will automatically be able to take over for them if they become disabled or incompetent. Most people just do not know how Joint Ownership can lead to Probate Guardianship. 

    These situations speak for themselves and there are hundreds more. Don’t take the chance of being caught unprepared. You may contact me for confidential consultation at 831-704-6246

    Until Next Time...



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