H A R A L D W E S T E N D O R F
L A W O F F I C E S O F
U . S . B A N K B U I L D I N G
3 9 5 1 0 P A S E O P A D R E P A R K W A Y
S U I T E 1 9 0
F R E M O N T , C A L I F O R N I A 9 4 5 3 8
T E L E P H O N E :
( 5 1 0 ) 7 9 2 - 3 7 5 0
F A C S I M I L E :
( 5 1 0 ) 7 9 6 - 1 6 2 4
REVOCABLE LIVING TRUSTS WIN POPULARITY
Earl C. Gottschalk, Jr.
Reprinted from Wall Street Journal (edited)
When John Tapp's father died four years ago, he left a will and complicated business affairs
that went through probate. "It was a mess," Tapp says. Estate taxes and probate fees were hefty.
After that, Tapp and his wife, Linda, both 42-year old accountants in San Gabriel, placed all
their assets in a revocable living trust. Says Tapp, "our two children will end up with more money
and fewer headaches."
More and more Americans are doing what the Tapps did - putting their assets in revocable
living trusts. In such a plan, titles to real estate, securities and other assets are placed in a trust while
the owner is still alive. The trust document outlines instructions for managing the assets and
distributing them after the individual's death. The people who create the trust can act as their own
trustees, so there are no management fees or loss of control. They can change the trust at any time.
The advantages of living trusts over wills are considerable. Under a will, an estate must be
settled in probate court. Lawyers' fees and court costs often are substantial; there may be
exasperating delays, and the proceedings are a matter of public record. In contrast, a living trust is
settled without a court proceeding; a successor trustee simply distributes assets according to the
trust's instructions, with an accountant, notary public or lawyer certifying any transfer of titles. The
process is much quicker, cheaper and more private than settling a