How a Living Trust Says "I Love You." My Granddad’s Story


The phone on the kitchen pass-thru rang.  Granddad was in the hospital, had taken a turn, and this was the call we hoped didn’t come in.  It was quickly decided how many cars to drive to the hospital and as it turned out I drove myself there.  Hindsight being what it is, I should have ridden with someone because I may have fractured a speeding law while simultaneously setting a new land speed record in driving my Dodge Charger to the hospital in an emotional and horsepower fueled semi-panic.  Probably not the safest, but I was 18 years old and loved my granddad very much.


He never came home from the hospital and mom helped grandma with all that she could.  I remember asking my mom about what was next to come.  I felt bad asking if there was going to be a reading of the Will because I didn’t want to appear like I was interested in material things, but the reality was that I believed that was just how it happened.  I thought it was like how we see it happen on TV.  You know, sitting in a lawyer’s office, with wood paneling on the wall, and all the family sitting in chairs listening.  That’s not how it happens.  The reality was that there was very little estate planning in place, and my mom had to deal with most of the issues and red tape.  After things were cleared up, she told her mom that she really needed to create a Living Trust, and grandma agreed.


Have you had someone close to you pass away?  Aside from the emotional pain and distress this caused, if the loved one had no estate planning in place – no Will, no Revocable Living Trust, nothing – and you had to handle the affairs, I sure you realize what a mess this can create.  If you’ve never dealt with this, I’m sure you can learn from others.


I’ll give you an explanation of just one of the rewards of creating an estate plan beyond avoiding the mess that not having any estate plan creates, and that is avoiding the costs and time delay of probate.  Let’s say you have an estate worth $650,000.  That is not difficult to do living here in San Diego.  Let us assume that you have a home worth $500,000 and accounts and other property that values at $150,000.  Now with Probate, it doesn’t matter that you owe $10 for your home, or $400,000, the estate is still valued, and costs are still determined at the $650,000 number.  The statutory amount an attorney can charge is $16,000.  The Executor of the estate is also allowed to charge the estate for his or her services up to the statutory amount.  So in this example, another $16,000.  Excluding court costs and other costs, we can see that the cost of Probate for an estate valued at $650,000 is potentially $32,000.  Wow, that’s a lot compared with the few thousand dollars that an inter vivos living trust will cost you.  Plus, Probate usually takes a year or longer.  You can avoid all this loss very easily – create an Estate Plan today.  By the way, a Trust goes by many different names including Living Trust, Revocable Trust, Revocable Living Trust, Inter Vivos Trust, Inter Vivos Living Trust and others.  You can read more about the costs of Probate in my blog.


Please feel free to give me a call today and we can review your Estate Planning goals.  Everyone’s situation is different, and I can help create solutions to address your specific goals and your particular situation. 


See lots of estate planning information on my website at:


William Daniel Powell (Dan)


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This document is for informational purposes only.  Nothing in this is to be considered legal advice.  Nothing in this shall create an attorney/client relationship, nor shall it create a confidential relationship.  If you need legal advice (in California), feel free to contact me or someone licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.  I assume no liability or responsibility for actions taken, or not taken, as a result of reading this information

Also, please remember that I speak in generalities in my blog and my website. There are so many different factors that can contribute and completely change the outcome that it would be impractical to discuss all of them here.


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