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Living Trusts
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Planned Giving Resources
The American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter recommends you work with a estate planning professional who can guide you through the estate and gift planning process. 

To include a gift to the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter in your trust, please designate a specific amount or percentage to the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter (click here for Sample Bequest Language for a Will or Trust). Your gift will be used here in the local community to prepare for, prevent and respond to disasters and other emergencies.
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 Web site.
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 tax advisor or attorney. Also, the planned giving team at the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter would be pleased to assist you and your advisers in including the Red Cross in your estate planning.
For more information, please contact our planned giving team at (415) 427-8989 or ruettingerw@usa.redcross.org.

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