Drafting Revocable Trusts – What are the Benefits?

Establishing a revocable trust for each and every client is not warranted. But for many clients, revocable trusts do offer some distinct benefits over a will and will be appropriate. Here are a few to consider:

Avoids Probate.  Save costs and fees. Less of an issue in states with streamlined probate procedure.

Out of State Property. Avoids ancillary probate if settlor owns property in more than one state.

Privacy.  But less privacy than previously with notice requirements of Probate Code Sec. 16100.

Incapacity Planning. At incapacity, the trust will  provide for the orderly succession of the trustee position without the requirement of a court proceeding , e.g., guardianship or conservatorship.

Asset Management. Provides orderly management of a settlor’s financial affairs.

Ease of Management. Assets can be managed and invested by another person for settlor’s beneficiaries.

Certainty. Provides certainty in administration for client owning property in several states (e., can specify that California law applies).

Retention of Community Property Benefits.  May retains CP character of marital assets if owner moves to non- community property state.

Separate Property. Can be useful to segregate separate property assets of spouses (i.e., before 2nd marriage).

Hope this is useful –



Sample Engagement Letter for Husband and Wife

Here is sample engagement letter for a husband and wife which was offered as a supplemental handout by Rob Harrison, one of our instructors. He is an excellent estate planning attorney who is based in in San Rafael, California.

I like the format, the sample fee schedule attached and the conflict of interest waiver provision.

Rob teaches the Preliminary Matters class in Bay Area Revocable Trust Course.

Check it out    –   Appendix B Engagement Letter



Badly Drafted Trust vs. Well Drafted Trust


In our live classes, we like to show good trust drafting examples and bad trust drafting examples. It’s good to see what the elements are for a well drafted trust. Here are examples of both extremes.

As can be seen from these examples, format and alignment matter. Before you read through the badly drafted trust, the expectations that the trust will not be well written is high!  It looks so sloppy!  Not to say that the language of the trust is not important – far from it!  But remember, take some time to make the trust look like presentable. When the client(s) has passed, someone will be  picking up the trust to figure out how to administer it. Make it easy on them!

Check these out!.


Badly Drafted Trust sample

Better Drafted Trust sample