925.244.1185
San Ramon, CA

Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning Blog

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Is a Handwritten Trust Legal in California?

A handwritten will can be a valid document as long as the paperwork meets California’s requirements for validity, but you might wonder whether you can handwrite a living trust and whether it would hold up in court. You could technically create an oral trust, but that would create more problems than it is worth.

It is a simple matter to create a handwritten trust in California that our courts would enforce and uphold. In fact, it is easier to create a handwritten trust than to make a handwritten will in our state.A California estate planning attorney can explain the advantages and drawbacks of different types of trusts and answer your questions, like, is a handwritten trust legal in California.

Creating a Handwritten Living Trust in California

When you make a living trust that can manage your assets during your lifetime and afterward, the law calls you the “settlor.” Whether your living trust is typed or handwritten, you, as the settlor, must sign the document. You do not need witnesses, and the paper does not have to be notarized.

Many people want to avoid challenges to their living trust, so they take steps that are above the bare minimum requirements, like having their signature notarized. As with many other things in life, it is often prudent to do more than the bare minimum. Having your signature notarized can be proof that you actually signed the document, and that someone else did not forge it.

Funding a Living Trust

When you write a will and it gets signed by you and two witnesses, your work is pretty much done. After you pass on and a judge approves the will, the terms of your will control what happens to your assets. If you decide to have a living trust rather than a will, writing and signing the trust document are only the first steps.

You will need to re-title your property into the name of the living trust. A trust cannot manage or distribute assets it does not own. Forgetting to re-title your assets into the name of the trust is like buying a new car and never taking it out of the garage. A common way to title a trust asset is using a term like “the living trust of Mary Smith,” rather than the owner of the account or property being simply Mary Smith.

Retitling their property makes many people nervous, and understandably so. If you made a revocable living trust, you can change it at any time. You can add beneficiaries, remove beneficiaries, add or take back property and assets, and modify the terms of the trust whenever you want.

Irrevocable Living Trusts

An irrevocable living trust, on the other hand, is “carved in granite.” Because irrevocable trusts come with valuable tax benefits, the trade-off with these documents is that you can never change your mind.

You will want to make sure that you understand the consequences of both types of trusts, revocable and irrevocable living trusts.

A California estate planning attorney can discuss your options and help you decide which documents will best meet your needs and goals. For legal help contact our office today, we offer a free consultation.


Archived Posts

2022
2021
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2020
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2019
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2016
2015



© 2022 Horizon Elder Law & Estate Planning, Inc. | Disclaimer
2333 San Ramon Valley Blvd., Ste. 145, San Ramon, CA 94583
| Phone: (925) 244-1185

Elder Law | Estate Planning | About

Law Firm Website Design by
Amicus Creative