Living Trusts

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How To Include the Red Cross in Your Trust

To include a gift to the American Red Cross Bay Area in your trust, please designate a specific amount or percentage to the "American Red Cross Bay Area." Your gift will be used here in the local community to prepare for, prevent and respond to disasters and emergencies. Red Cross Bay Area volunteers are sent throughout North America to help victims of such disasters as hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.

What Is a Living Trust?

A living trust is an asset management plan established during your lifetime. Just like a will, it contains your instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. But, unlike a will, it avoids the probate court process. This can result in savings of time and expense to your heirs. Because there are many complicated issues involved in establishing a living trust, you should consult an attorney experienced in estate planning in your state of residence to draft yours.

Because a living trust will serve as your primary estate planning vehicle, you should prepare for your attorney meeting in the same manner as we suggested under the Wills and Bequests section of this website.

Who Should Have a Living Trust?

Age, marital status and level of wealth do not really matter. If you own titled assets and want your loved ones to avoid court interference at your death or incapacity, consider a living trust.

A Partial List of Benefits of a Living Trust

  • Avoids probate at death, including multiple probates if you own property in other states
  • Prevents court control of assets at incapacity
  • Brings all your assets together under one plan
  • Provides maximum privacy
  • Quicker distribution of assets to beneficiaries
  • Assets can remain in trust until you want beneficiaries to inherit
  • Relatively easy to set up and maintain
  • Can be changed or canceled at any time
  • Difficult to contest
  • Prevents probate court control of minors' inheritances
  • Can protect dependents with special needs

How Can I Find Out More?

Talk with your attorney, accountant or adviser. Also, the Planned Giving Department at the American Red Cross Bay Area would be pleased to assist you and your advisers in including the Red Cross in your estate planning.

For more information, please contact Gary Ogburn at, (415) 427-8171, or Bill Ruettinger at, (415) 427-8989.

ęCopyright 2007, American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter. All Rights Reserved.
85 Second Street, 8th Floor, San Francisco, CA  94105 : (415) 427-8000
Photos: Gene Dailey, Elena Fava Emerson, Bonnie Gillespie.