As difficult and unpleasant as it can be to think about or discuss with our loved ones, everyone’s time eventually ends. Avoiding conversations about end-of-life concerns may make you and your loved ones feel more comfortable in the moment, but the lack of a robust plan for the execution of your estate can result in a stressful and traumatic situation for your family members, who will already have enough on their minds grieving your loss.

One of the most powerful estate planning tools available to you and your family is a trust. Trusts are special legal instruments that act almost as separate financial entities where your assets are held until conditions are met for them to be disbursed to your heirs. Trusts come in various forms and provide several different legal protections and functions.

Implementing a trust protects your estate from uncertain and tedious probate court battles. In addition, it ensures your family, business partners, or other beneficiaries get the assets they need precisely when you want them to have them. One of the best protections you can have in place to guard your wishes is by leveraging an experienced Costa Mesa trusts lawyer. The Law Office of Christopher P. Walker can guide you to the best plan for you and your family.


Your attorney can discuss what kind of estate planning is best for your particular situation. However, here are some basic reasons why you should consider a trust.

  • Avoid probate court. A trust will ensure that your estate avoids the lengthy process of probate court during what is likely a difficult time.
  • Control over your assets. Though it depends on the situation, trusts offer control that wills don’t always provide. For instance, a trust lets you determine how and when to distribute your assets.
  • Reduce estate taxes. You may be able to reduce your taxable estate by transferring your assets into a trust. It’s an easy way to reduce, and even sometimes, eliminate estate taxes.
  • Ease of maintenance. Once a trust has been established, you only need to change them after big life events, like a birth or death.
  • Protect your family. From children with special needs to fairly divided assets, a trust protects your loved ones in most worst case scenarios.

Of course, every family situation is different. If you are concerned about what type of estate planning course is best for your family, contact our firm.

Getting Help With Your Costa Mesa Trust

After a quarter-century helping clients throughout Costa Mesa and Orange County, the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker understands family law, estate planning, and our local court systems on a deep and intimate level. By working with a high-powered attorney like Christopher P. Walker, you can unlock the full power and potential of trusts and use them to ensure your wishes are carried out word for word upon your death (or medical incapacitation). Our practice understands that a trust is not merely another legal document or a particular type of bank account—it’s security, peace of mind, and a level of control over your estate’s future that can outlive your physical body by years.


Just like a divorce or will, it is possible but highly inadvisable to create a trust on your own. For example, if you have limited assets or only a single beneficiary (e.g., a surviving spouse), it may very well be possible to create a simple trust on your own, but without an attorney, you may be missing crucial aspects of your situation that could cost your loved ones. Most people assume that if they don’t have excessive wealth or many beneficiaries, you don’t need an attorney. However, that’s a misconception that could affect all aspects of your trust.

Most people who determine they need a trust concurrently determine that they need a lawyer to help them create and implement it. Complex assets, large families, and shared business interests are some of the situations that might make it worth the time and resources to find a detail-oriented estate planning lawyer to help you set up a proper, legally binding trust. Only by working with a qualified trust attorney can you ensure that your trust meets all of your needs and will be legally enforceable upon your passing.


Q: Is a Trust the Same Thing as an Estate Plan?
No. While a trust might be a vital part of your estate plan or its foundation, setting up a trust alone does not constitute estate planning. Many people who have trusts also set up wills, durable powers of attorney, and other legal documents as part of an overall estate plan. Costa Mesa estate planning attorney Christopher P. Walker can analyze your particular situation, including your family, finances, health, and business interests, to determine the estate planning strategy that will cover all of your needs.

Q: How Does a Trust Actually Work?
The basic idea behind a trust is relatively simple. The trustor (the person putting assets into a trust) creates the trust as a legal and financial instrument to transfer ownership of assets. Some people think of a trust as a special bank account, but it’s more than that. You can think of a trust as a trusted third party that takes temporary ownership of assets. Once certain conditions are met (a beneficiary reaching the age of legal adulthood is a typical example), the assets in the trust are distributed to the beneficiaries according to your predetermined instructions.

Q: What Is a Trustee?
A designated trustee administers trusts. The trustee might be your spouse, a trusted business partner, your attorney, or even an institution. After your death, the trustee is responsible for ensuring the assets placed in trust get distributed to your beneficiaries per your instructions. The trustee typically receives some percentage of the assets in compensation for this duty (the payment details will be spelled out in the trust). The trustee can also be held legally liable for any mismanagement of the trust. As implied by the name of the process, mutual trust is vital in the relationship between trustee and trustor.

Q: What Sort of Assets Can Be Placed in Trust?
A: A trust is a versatile legal tool because many diverse assets can be placed in trust. Financial assets such as investments, bank accounts, and retirement funds are commonly placed into trust, but a trust can also include business assets, real estate, cars, trucks, boats, life insurance policies, and valuable material goods such as antiques, artwork, collectibles, and family heirlooms. Even certain types of intellectual property, such as patent rights, can be placed into a trust. Your Costa Mesa estate planning attorney can help you understand which assets can be protected by a trust and how best to convert or otherwise protect those that cannot.


A testamentary trust is a legal tool that only takes effect when the trustor dies, immediately transferring stewardship of the entrusted assets to the designated trustee. Most people envision this when they talk about using a trust for estate planning. There is a different and equally powerful legal instrument at your disposal called a living trust, however, and it may be an excellent choice for many trustors depending on one’s individual assets and goals.

A living trust is one that is valid while the trustor remains alive. A living trust can be prepared in two different forms, a revocable living trust and an irrevocable living trust. Each manage different concerns:

  • Revocable living trustThis type of trust is in effect while you are alive but can be changed as needed if your financial situation or family life changes. When working with a qualified law firm, amending the terms of your revocable trust is as simple as speaking to your attorney about what you need to change and letting them handle the rest.
  • Irrevocable living trust—An irrevocable trust is more or less permanently binding. This means it cannot be altered in any way. This can be useful in various situations where certainty and finality are desired, such as if you have concerns about someone manipulating you into changing your estate plan as you age.


End-of-life planning discussions are always difficult conversations, but they are important.

Regardless of your estate planning concern, your issue is unique. We will treat it with the specificity and care it deserves. If you’re in Orange County and ready to protect your assets by placing them in trust, the next step is to contact attorney Christopher P. Walker to help you form an estate plan that will meet your needs and secure your family’s future. Contact us any time to discuss your assets and goals. You and your beneficiaries can trust the Law Office of Christopher P. Walker to protect your rights and assets to the fullest extent of the law.

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