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Busting the Top 7 Misconceptions About Revocable Living Trusts in California

Let’s talk about something that might seem a little daunting but is actually super important: revocable living trusts in California. I practice estate planning, as an estate planning attorney in Camarillo and Ventura, You may have heard a few things about living trusts, but are they accurate? Let’s go through the top 7 misconceptions people often have and get the facts straight.

1. “All my assets will be protected from creditors and lawsuits if I have a trust.”

Unfortunately, this isn’t true. A revocable living trust is mainly designed to avoid probate, manage assets, and plan for incapacity. It doesn’t provide protection from creditors or lawsuits. That’s because you retain control over the trust, meaning creditors can still access the assets within it. If you’re looking for asset protection, consult an attorney for alternative options.

2. “Revocable living trusts are only for the wealthy.”

Nope! A revocable living trust can benefit individuals and families of various financial backgrounds. You don’t have to be rolling in dough to set one up. Trusts can help manage assets, avoid probate, and provide a seamless transfer of property to your beneficiaries, regardless of your net worth. It’s worth considering if you want to simplify the estate administration process for your loved ones.

3. “Having a trust means I don’t need a will.”

While a trust is a powerful estate planning tool, it’s not a substitute for a will. A “pour-over will” is often used in conjunction with a trust, catching any assets left outside the trust at the time of your death. This will ensure that those assets are distributed according to your wishes, and not left to the whims of California’s intestacy laws.

4. “Setting up a trust is too expensive and complicated.”

The cost and complexity of setting up a trust depend on your individual circumstances. While it may initially be more expensive than creating a simple will, the long-term benefits can often outweigh the upfront costs. For instance, a trust can help you avoid the time-consuming and potentially costly probate process. An experienced estate planning attorney can guide you through the process and help determine if a trust is the right fit for your situation.

5. “Once I set up a trust, I can’t make changes to it.”

As the name suggests, a revocable living trust is, well, revocable. This means you can make changes or even dissolve the trust entirely during your lifetime. You maintain control over the trust and its assets, allowing you to adapt your estate plan as your circumstances change.

6. “I’ll lose control over my assets if I put them in a trust.”

Fear not! With a revocable living trust, you maintain control over your assets during your lifetime. You can act as the trustee, managing the trust’s assets and making decisions as you see fit. If you become incapacitated, a successor trustee can step in to manage the trust on your behalf, following your instructions laid out in the trust document.

7. “Trusts are only for people with complex estate planning needs.”

While it’s true that trusts can help address complex estate planning issues, they can also be beneficial for people with relatively straightforward needs. Trusts can simplify the estate administration process, avoid probate, and provide privacy, which can be valuable for individuals and families regardless of the complexity of their estate.


There you have it! We’ve debunked the top 7 misconceptions about revocable living trusts in California. If you’re considering setting up a trust or have questions about your existing estate plan, it’s always a good idea to consult with an experienced Camarillo estate planning attorney (like me). I can help you navigate the ins and outs of the process and make sure your assets and loved ones are well-protected.

Remember, estate planning is all about creating a plan that works best for you and your family. So, don’t let these misconceptions hold you back from considering a revocable living trust. With the right guidance, you can create a comprehensive plan that ensures your wishes are carried out and your loved ones are taken care of.

In the end, knowledge is power, and understanding the facts about revocable living trusts can empower you to make informed decisions about your estate plan. Happy planning!

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Estate Planning Attorney Eric Ridley