How to Set Up a Living Trust in California

Living trusts, or revocable trust, are a great option for folks who want to distribute inheritance to their children or loved ones after they pass. Unlike an irrevocable trust, a living trust is one that can be changed during a person’s lifetime. Learn what a living trust is and the importance of creating one, and view our guide to setting up a living trust in California below.

The Basics of a Living Trust

A living trust is a legal document that is created to manage the assets of the trustor (the creator of the trust) while they are still alive. An individual is appointed trustee by the trustor and it is the trustee’s responsibility to manage the trust assets. A living trust is considered revocable, meaning it can be altered while the trustor is still living. Once the trustor passes, it is then irrevocable, meaning it can no longer be changed.

Related Article: Does a Living Trust Go Through Probate?

The Importance of Living Trusts in California

A living trust can be beneficial during the estate planning process. While it may take time and careful planning to set up, it may be best to create a living trust so that you can alter it as needed while going on through life. A benefit of having a living trust in California is that you typically do not have to go through probate. Not only does it save time and energy, but it also means beneficiaries listed may receive their inheritance sooner. Last but not least, a living trust can provide relief after the trustor passes away because property and assets are handled ahead of time.

Related Article:
How Soon Should I Set Up Power of Attorney in California?

The Unofficial Checklist to Setting Up a Living Trust

    1. Make note of your assets (tangible and financial property such as real estate, bank accounts, art, jewelry, cryptocurrency, etc.*)
    2. Appoint a trustee
    3. Choose your beneficiaries
    4. Create a Declaration of Trust (with an estate attorney)
    5. Sign your trust document in the presence of a notary public
    6. Transfer your property to the trust

*Items that depreciate over time, such as vehicles and boats, should be excluded.


Do you have a question about trust accounting for living trusts? Speak with Marcia L. Campbell, CPA.

If you need help, please contact us by filling out our Contact Form or by giving our office a call at +1(951)686-3608.

As the most experienced CPA in the Inland Empire who specializes in working with seniors, Marcia L. Campbell is committed to helping each client thrive by caring for their personal and financial well-being with genuine interest, well-established expertise, and a focus on respectful partnerships. Marcia’s team specializes in a number of services, including elder & financial care, court & trust accountings, as well as private fiduciary and tax services. At Marcia L. Campbell, CPA, we understand the importance of our clients’ individual needs and are committed to helping them make the best personal and financial decisions for their future.

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