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Trusts, Wills, Probate and Estate Planning

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. Estate Planning
Creating a Trust in Orange County, California
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Article 1: What is Probate in California?
Article 2: Most Frequently Asked Questions About Probate in California,
Article 3: Glossary of Probate Terms
Article 4: California Probate Code
Article 5: How To Hire A Good Attorney
Article 6: What is a Living Trust?
Article 7: What is an Advance Health Care Directive?
Article 8: What is a Conseritorship or Gardianship?
Article 9: About Elderly Care
Article 10: Assisted Living
Article 11: Adult Day Care
Article 12: Long Term Care for the Elderly
Article 13: Nursing Homes
Article 14: Home Care




Tracy Murphy is
a Law graduate of
Loyola Law School
in Los Angeles.

Attorney Tracy Murphy
was a Professor of
Estate Planning for the
University of Phoenix

Tracy Murphy is
a lawyer member of the
California Bar Association

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Living Trusts in the United States

In the United States, a living trust refers to a trust that may be revocable by the trust creator or settlor (known by the IRS as the Grantor). Living trusts are often used because they may allow assets to be passed to heirs without going through the process of probate. Avoiding probate will normally save substantial costs (the probate courts, in some states, charge a fee based on a percentage net worth of the deceased), time, and maintain privacy (the probate records are available to the public, while distribution through a trust is private). Living trusts also can be utilized to plan for unforeseen circumstances such as incapacity or disability. The grantor/settlor may also serve as a trustee or co-trustee. In the case where two or more co-trustees serve, the trust instrument may provide that either trustee may act alone on behalf of the trust or require both co-trustees to act/sign. The trust instrument may also provide that the other co-trustee shall act as sole trustee if the grantor becomes incompetent and is unable to continue administering the trust.

Despite the advantages, there are also some negative aspects to a living trust in the United States. Beneficiaries do not save on federal estate or state inheritance taxes. Setting up a trust may be expensive, and the expense is immediate, not delayed till after the grantor's death. However, in the long run depending on the circumstances, the expense is usually substantially less to set up a trust and the estate administration is generally much faster when compared to probate. Living trusts generally do not shelter assets from the U.S. Federal estate tax. A married couple having a trust can, however, effectively double the estate tax exemption amount (the amount of net worth above which an estate tax is levied) by setting up the trust with a formula clause. A formula clause takes advantage of the unlimited spousal deduction allowed under the internal revenue code. When the first married individual dies, the trust pays out to the beneficiaries an amount up to the total unified credit. The amount is set by the formula clause, not strict dollar amounts, because the unified credit increases over time. Without a formula clause, the unified credit could be wasted. The remaining amount of the estate (after the unified credit is exhausted) is paid to the spouse. Thus, when the first spouse dies, no estate tax is owed (just as if the individual died intestate). However, when the second spouse dies, the distribution to the trust beneficiaries is subject to that decedent's unified credit. The rest is subject to estate tax. If the married couple had died intestate, the first decedent's unified credit is lost because everything is transferred to the spouse upon his/her death. A formula clause is necessary only if the value of the estate is larger than the amount of the unified credit. For a living trust, the grantor/settlor will often retain some level of relevance to the trust, usually by appointing himself as the trustee and/or as the protector under the trust instrument (in jurisdictions where protectors are recognised). Living trusts also, in practical terms, tend to be driven to large extent by tax considerations. If a living trust fails, the property will usually be held for the grantor/settlor on resulting trusts, which in some notable cases, has had catastrophic tax consequences. A living trust is not under the control and supervision of the probate court, and property held by such a trust is not part of a descendent's probated estate.

The Parties To The Trust

Grantor/Settlor The person who sets up the trust; also called the settlor, trustor, or trustmaker.

Trustee This is the person who will manage the trust assets. This also may be the settlor in a Revocable Living Trust, since the settlor wants to manage his or her own property. Some revocable living trusts "self settled trusts" (that is, the grantor is also a beneficiary of the trust).

Successor Trustee Where the Grantor is a Trustee, the Successor Trustee is the person who will manage the trust assets when the Grantor dies, or in the event the Grantor becomes incapacitated. Upon the Grantor’s death, the Successor Trustee will immediately have the same powers that the Grantor had as Trustee to buy, sell, borrow, or transfer the assets inside the trust. Also, the Successor Trustee has the right to distribute the trust’s assets according to the Grantor’s instructions in the trust instrument. The Successor Trustee does not have the legal right to change the trust. The trust becomes irrevocable upon the Grantor’s death. The Successor Trustee has the right to manage the assets in the estate, but must do so for the benefit of the remainder beneficiaries. At the Grantor’s death, the Successor Trustee automatically takes over without court order, pays any debts, expenses and taxes directed to be paid by the terms of the written trust document, and then distributes the property to the trust beneficiaries. Where the trust is scheduled to terminate on the Grantor’s death, and the trust is merely a means of avoiding probate, the death beneficiary should ordinarily be named Successor Trustee.

Beneficiaries The people who will receive the benefit of the trust’s assets are called beneficiaries. Sometimes, the grantor is the original beneficiary. Those who take after the grantor's death are “remainder beneficiaries."

Establishing a living trust To establish a living trust, an individual transfers title of his assets from himself as grantor, to a trustee of the trust (often the trustee and grantor are the same person), to administer for the benefit of himself and at least one other person. The trust may also name the remainder beneficiaries who will take after the grantor dies. The beneficiaries get nothing until that person dies. Depending on the size of the trust, it may be advisable to use a corporate trustee such as a bank. A substantial advantage of this approach is that a corporate trustee can act in perpetuity, whereas an individual cannot. Corporate trustees must provide accurate and detailed records of all transactions that take place in the trust, for however long the trust exists. Those records become what is known as an "accounting" of the trust, which may be required to be provided to a court or remainder beneficiaries. Corporate trustees also are required to manage the investments held in the trust. Laws have been updated in most states to allow a corporate trustee to act in a "directed capacity," meaning that the trustee is required to have oversight of the trust investments, but not the day-to-day management of them.

Individual trusts. To establish a basic living trust, the Grantor signs a document called a declaration of trust, which is similar to a Last Will and Testament. In the document, the Grantor typically names himself or herself as trustee, and transfers assets to that trust (i.e., the transfer is actually made from the Grantor to himself, as Trustee). Because the Grantor is named as the trustee, he or she maintains full control over the assets. After the Grantor--or the Grantor and Grantor's spouse (in the case of a joint trust)--dies, the person identified as successor trustee in the trust document generally assumes that role. The successor trustee transfers ownership of the assets in the trust to the beneficiaries named in the trust document. In many cases, the whole process takes only a few weeks, and there are no lawyer or court fees to pay. When all of the property has been transferred to the beneficiaries, the living trust terminates.

Why Do You Need a Living Trust?

For most of us, it is very difficult to come to terms with our own mortality. To actually contemplate one's own death is painful. Consequently, very often such thoughts are avoided. However, if you wish to insure that your desires regarding the disposition of your property and possessions after your death are fulfilled, you must confront your mortality and plan accordingly.

Most people's lives are centered on living and, in one way or another, on a close and intimate group of loved ones. These may be relatives, friends, church members, coworkers, or business associates. They are looked to for love, support, and assistance in times of trouble and are asked to share in times of joy. They are often cared about in ways that are difficult to express. But during your life, you at least have the opportunity to show your love and concern in many forms.

“You can't take it with you” is a well-worn phrase, but it does strike to the core of the problem of providing for your property and money to be distributed in some fashion on your death. Your entire life has been spent accumulating possessions and wealth for your own comfort and the comfort of your loved ones. Through the proper use of a Living Trust, you have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to personally decide what will happen to your accumulated wealth and possessions when you are gone. It is entirely your personal decision. Indeed, it is your legal privilege to make this decision. No one but you has the power to decide, prior to your death, how and to whom your property should be distributed on your demise. But in order to do so, you must take the initiative and overcome the understandable difficulty of these decisions. If you do not take the initiative, upon your death an impersonal court will decide who will receive your wealth.

To actually sit down and decide how your property and possessions should be divided amongst your loved ones in the event of your own death is not an easy task. However, it is you alone who knows your wishes. The property and possessions that you own may be land, your home, personal household furnishings, keepsakes, heirlooms, money, stocks, bonds, or any other type of property. It may be worth thousands of dollars or it may be worth far less. If you are like most people, you want to insure that it is passed on to the persons whom you choose. But then again, if you are like most people, you have put off making these decisions.

Advantages of a Living Trust

Avoiding the Expense and Delay of Probate

There are many reasons why it is desirable to have a Living Trust. One of the most important is that through the proper use of a Living Trust most or all of the expense and delay of probate is avoided. During proceedings, an executor (a person appointed in a Will) or a court-appointed administrator is authorized to collect, appraise, and distribute the assets of the deceased. Normally, the proper use of a Living Trust entirely eliminates or dramatically lessens the expenses of probate, since the disposition of all of your property has been planned in advance by you and takes place automatically upon your death.

Many people desire to avoid having their property be subject to probate proceedings. Although in some situations the probate process has been abused, there are valid reasons for allowing your property to be handled through probate after your death. It provides a process by which the improper distribution of your assets is guarded against by the probate court. Having your property distributed through a probate process also puts a definite limit on the length of time that a creditor can file a claim against your estate.

The drawbacks of probate are that it can substantially delay the distribution of your property while the probate process continues. The probate of an estate can take, generally, from four to 18 months, and sometimes much longer. Additionally, probate costs can be very significant. Court costs, appraisal fees, lawyer's fees, and accounting bills can all cut deeply into the amount of property and funds that Will eventually be distributed to your beneficiaries. However, for small estates (generally, under $100,000.00) most states have simplified probate procedures that can be handled without lawyers and can substantially reduce these costs. The probate process itself is complex and will, in almost all cases, require the use of an attorney. The proper use of a Living Trust can allow all or most of your property to pass directly to your chosen beneficiaries immediately upon your death, thus bypassing the probate process entirely. For many, this reason
alone justifies the use of a Living Trust.

Avoiding Having the State Decide Who Will Receive Your Property

There are, however, numerous other valuable attributes of a Living Trust. Perhaps the next most important reason to have a Living Trust is to insure that it is you who decides how your estate is distributed on your death and to be assured that those loved ones whom you wish to share in your bounty actually receive your gifts.

What happens to your property and possessions if you do not have a valid and legal method by which to have your property distributed to your chosen beneficiaries (those persons or organizations to whom you decide to leave property) upon your death? Law books are filled with many unfortunate cases in which, because of the lack of a valid Living Trust or Will, the true desires and wishes of a person as to who should inherit their property have been frustrated. If there is no valid Living Trust or Will to use for direction, a probate judge must give a person's property to either the spouse, children, or the closest blood relatives of the deceased person. This result is required, even in situations when it is perfectly clear that the deceased person did not, under any circumstances, want those relatives to inherit the property.

Without such a valid Living Trust or Will before him or her, a judge must rely on a legislative scheme which has been devised to make for an orderly distribution of property in all cases where there is no valid Living Trust or Will. This scheme is present as law, in one form or another, in all 50 states and is generally referred to as intestate distribution.

The terms of state intestate distribution plans are very complex in most states. In general, a person's spouse is first in line to receive the property when there is no Living Trust or Will at death. Most states provide that the spouse and children will either share the entire estate or the surviving spouse will take it all in the hopes that the spouse will share it with the children. Generally, the spouse will receive one-half and the children will receive one-half. In many states, if a person dies without a valid Living Trust or Will and is survived by a spouse but not by any children, the spouse will inherit the entire estate and the surviving parents, brother, sisters, and any other blood relatives to the deceased will be entitled to nothing.

If there is no surviving spouse or children, the heirs, or blood relatives of the deceased will receive the estate. If there is someone or several persons within the next closest relationship level (for example, parents or siblings) who are alive on the death of the person, then these relatives will receive all of the person's property or share it equally with all others alive who are in a similar relationship level. Once a level of blood relationship is found in which there is at least one living person, all persons who are more distantly related inherit nothing.

In addition, these legislative distribution plans are set up on the assumption that family members are the only parties whom a deceased person would wish to have inherit his or her property. Thus, without a Living Trust or Will, it is impossible to leave any gifts to close friends, in-laws, blood relatives more distant then any alive, charities, or organizations of any type. If there is no Living Trust or Will and if there are no blood relatives alive, the state confiscates all of a person's property under a legal doctrine entitled escheat.

As an example of a typical legislative intestate distribution scheme, the following is a general representative outline of the various levels of distribution that are set up in many states. Keep in mind, however, that this example is only an illustration of the method that states may use and is not intended to be used in determining how your own estate would be divided. Check on the listing in our State Law Digest for your own state's intestate distribution plan for specific details:

  • If a spouse and children of the marriage are surviving: $50,000.00 and one-half of the balance of the estate will go to the spouse and one-half of the balance of the estate will go to the children equally. If one of the children has predeceased the parent and leaves surviving children (grandchildren of the deceased parent), then the grandchildren will split the deceased child's share.
  • If a spouse and children of the deceased who are not from the present marriage are surviving: One-half of the balance of the estate will go to the spouse and one-half of the balance of the estate will go to the children equally. If one of the children has predeceased the parent and leaves surviving children (grandchildren of the deceased parent), then the grandchildren will split the deceased child's share.
  • If a spouse, but no children or parents of the deceased are surviving: All of the estate will go to the spouse.
  • If a spouse and one or both parents, but no children are surviving: $50,000.00 and one-half of the balance of the estate will go to the spouse and one-half of the balance of the estate will go to the parents equally. If only one parent is surviving, that parent gets the entire one-half share of the estate.
  • If there are children of the deceased, but no spouse surviving: All of the estate goes to the children. If one of the children has predeceased the parent and leaves surviving children (grandchildren of the deceased parent), then the grandchildren will split the deceased child's share.
  • If one or both parents, but no spouse or children are surviving: All of the estate will go to the parents equally, or the entire estate will go to the surviving parent.
  • If there is no spouse, no children, or no parents surviving: All of the estate will go to brothers and sisters equally. If a brother or sister has predeceased the deceased sibling and has left surviving children, their children will split the deceased brother or sister's share.
  • If there is no spouse, no children, no parents, and no brothers and sisters or their children surviving: One-half of the estate will go to the maternal grandparents and one-half will go to the paternal grandparents. If the grandparents on either side have predeceased the decedent, their children will split their share.
  • If there is no spouse, no children, no parents, no brothers and sisters or their children, and no grandparents or their children surviving: The estate will pass to the surviving members of the closest level of blood relatives: aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces, great-grandparents, great-uncles, great-aunts, first cousins, great-great-grandparents, second cousins, etc.
  • If there are no surviving kin: The estate will be claimed by the state under the doctrine of escheat.

Many disastrous consequences can result from having your property distributed according to a standardized state plan. Take, for example, a situation in which a person and his or her spouse die from injuries sustained in a single accident, but one spouse survives a few hours longer. If there is no Living Trust or Will, the result in this scenario is that the property of the first one to die passes to the spouse who survives. A few hours later, on the death of the surviving spouse, the property automatically passes only to the relatives of the spouse who survived the longest. The relatives of the first person to die can inherit nothing at all. Obviously, this would not normally be the desired consequence. Under the typical state scheme, luck and chance play a large role in deciding who is to inherit property.

Each state has a complicated and often different method for deciding which particular family members will take property when there is no Living Trust or Will. However, the results are often far from the desires of how the person actually wished to have the property distributed. Obviously, under this type of state distribution of your property, the individual circumstances of your family are not taken into consideration at all nor are any intentions that you may have had, regardless of how strongly you may have expressed them during your lifetime. The only way to avoid having the state decide who is to receive your property is to have prepared a legally valid Living Trust or Will. If you die without a valid Living Trust or Will, the state essentially writes one for you on its own terms.

Appointing a Trustee to Administer Your Property

Another very important reason for having a Living Trust is the ability to appoint a Successor Trustee of your own choice. A Successor Trustee is your personal representative for seeing that your wishes, as contained in your Living Trust, are carried out after your death and that your taxes and debts are paid. A Successor Trustee also collects and inventories all of your property and is in charge of seeing that it is distributed according to your wishes as expressed in your Living Trust.

Typically, a spouse, sibling, or other close family member or trusted friend is chosen to act as Successor Trustee. However, it may be any responsible adult whom you would feel confident having this duty. It may even be a local bank or trust company. In that case of course, there will often be a substantial fee charged to your estate for the completion of these generally routine duties by the corporate Successor Trustee. If you choose an individual, he or she should be a resident of your home state. The Living Trust forms on our site enable you to appoint your Successor Trustee and an alternate Successor Trustee so that, in the event your first choice cannot perform, it is still your personal choice as to who will administer your Living Trust.

If you do not have a Living Trust or you do not choose a Successor Trustee in your Living Trust, a judge will appoint someone to administer the distribution of your property. Often it will be a local attorney, court official, or bank officer who may not know you or your beneficiaries at all. Your estate will then be distributed by a stranger who will charge your estate a hefty fee for the collection and distribution of your assets.

By appointing your own Successor Trustee, you are also able to waive the posting of a bond by your Successor Trustee. A bond is a type of insurance policy that a Trustee would normally have to purchase to insure that he or she carries out his or her duties properly. The cost of the bond would come out of your Trust Estate (all of the trust's assets). You also provide that your Successor Trustee will not receive any compensation for serving as Trustee. This will allow more of your assets to reach your beneficiaries, rather than paying for the expenses of administration of your estate.

Appointing a Trustee to Administer Property for a Minor Child

For those with minor children, the appointment of a trustee for any assets to be provided to the children is another very important matter which may be accomplished through the use of a Living Trust. You may set up a Children's Trust within your Living Trust and have your Successor Trustee administer your children's property until a time when you feel that your children will be able to handle their own affairs. Instructions to provide for this alternative are simply stated in a Living Trust, but are more difficult to accomplish without one. If such instruction is not provided for in a Living Trust and a minor child is left money or property by way of the state intestate succession laws, the courts will generally decide who should administer the property. Such court-supervised guardianship of the property or money will automatically end at the child's reaching the legal age of majority in the state (usually 18 years of age). At this age, without a Living Trust to direct otherwise, the child will receive full control over the property and/or money. This may not be the most prudent result, as many 18-year-olds are not capable of managing property or large sums of money. With a Living Trust, it is easy to arrange for the property or money to be held in trust and used to benefit the child until a later age, perhaps 21, 25, or even 30 years of age or older.

Other Advantages of a Living Trust

There are a number of other significant advantages to using a Living Trust to distribute your property upon your death:

  • If you own real estate in a state other than that of your legal residence, the use of a Living Trust will allow that real estate to be passed to your beneficiary without an out-of-state probate proceeding.
  • If you become incapacitated, a Living Trust allows your chosen Successor Trustee to manage your property. Without a Living Trust, a “conservator” or “guardian” would need to be authorized by a court to handle such matters. The legal proceeding to accomplish this is often long and expensive.
  • With a Living Trust, the details of your estate plan remain confidential. Only your chosen Successor Trustee will need to know the actual specifics of your intentions. And even your Successor Trustee need only know the details of your estate plan after your death.
  • While you are alive, there are no required trust recordkeeping requirements. You need not have a trust bank account, file a trust federal or state income tax return, or maintain any separate trust records. Of course, it is a good idea to keep careful track of the assets that you will place in the Living Trust.
  • You can amend or revoke your Living Trust at any time, without any formal proceedings or actions.
  • Finally, no lawyer is necessary to handle the distribution of your assets upon your death. If you follow the instructions in our Living Trust kits carefully, your chosen Successor Trustee should have no difficulty in distributing your assets to your chosen beneficiaries. This can save not only time, but considerable money as well.

Disadvantages of a Living Trust

There are a few disadvantages to using a Living Trust to distribute your property upon your death:

  • First, setting up a Living Trust entails some paperwork. You must carefully prepare a Trust document and the property and beneficiary schedules that will accompany it. You must also make certain that you have the selected property clearly transferred to the trust. If the property has a title or ownership document (such as a car or a piece of real estate), you must change the ownership documents to reflect that the ownership is being transferred to the trust. If the property has no ownership document, then simply listing the chosen property on the Trust Schedule of Assets will effectively transfer the property to the Trust.
  • In a very few situations and jurisdictions, there may be some limited transfer taxes, such as real estate transfer taxes or vehicle title transfer fees. In the vast majority of states, transfers of real estate to ownership by a living trust are exempt from any transfer taxes. Even if imposed, such transfer taxes are generally very minimal. Please check specifically with your jurisdiction if this is an issue.
  • There may be a few banks or finance companies that will balk at refinancing a property that has the title held by a trust. Most companies should be satisfied if you provide them with your trust document and all of the transfer documents (such as the new deed or title).
  • Finally, unlike a probate proceeding, there is no cutoff date for the filing of creditor's claims against the estate of a person who dies with a Living Trust. For the vast majority of people, this is not a problem as most estates do not have large unpaid liabilities. However, if you feel that your estate may be subject to large claims, you may wish to use a Will, rather than a Living Trust, to distribute your property upon death.

Why You Still Need a Will

Even if you have used a Living Trust and the various estate planning tools outlined in our Planning Your Living Trust guide to attempt to have your estate avoid probate, a Will is still highly recommended. There may be assets that you have neglected, forgotten about, or that will not be uncovered until your death. If you have used a trust, joint property agreements, and other estate planning tools, these unknown or forgotten assets may wind up passing to your heirs as intestate property and causing probate proceedings to be instituted. Through the use of a simple Will, you can avoid this possibility.

Probate, Trusts, Wills, and Estate Planning Attorney

Servicing Orange County, Irvine, Laguna Woods, Leisure World, Seal Beach, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Aliso Viejo, Coto De Caza, San Clemente, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach

Orange County's friendly and caring estate planning law office. The Law Office of Tracy Murphy is located in the city of Irvine, in Orange County, California. Tracy Murphy represents individuals, families, and small business owners in estate planning, business planning, and tax planning. Tracy Murphy is a knowledgeable estate planning attorney who understands the value of establishing trustworthy, long-term relationships with each client. Clients appreciate the availability of house calls and hospital visits at no additional cost.

Tracy Murphy, Attorney At Law sets the highest standards
in Custom Estate Planning, dedicated to today's needs and tomorrow's realities. Thorough and thoughtful evaluation of your needs guarantees the optimum solution for your circumstances - no matter how simple or complex.

Your attorney should be your advocate.
I will help you
plan one of the most important aspects of your future - your legacy. With information assembled in one-on-one meetings, we will personalize a trust that will put a legal frame to your needs and anchor your financial legacy.

Together we will set objectives, address concerns and custom-build an Estate Plan tailored to reflect your needs, lifestyle and goals. Caring continuing attention to the administration of your estate offers comfort to loved ones and helps avoid unnecessary family hardship.

"I believe the most important estate planning objectives are protecting what you have earned, and planning to provide for your loved ones" - Tracy Murphy.

Legal Services:  
Estate Planning: Wills, Trusts, Probate, Revocable Living Trusts (inter vivos trusts)
Special Needs Planning Last Will & Testament
Incapacitation Planning Special Needs Trusts (Disabled)
Buy Sell Agreements Pour-over Will
Marital Agreements Accumulation and Maintenance trusts
Domestic Partnership Agreements Living Wills (End of life choices)
Trust Transfer Documents Discretionary Trusts
Property Deeds and Affidavits Incentive Trusts
HIPAA Releases Codicils
Powers of Attorney IRA Trusts
Guardianships Life Insurance Trusts (ILIT)
Trust Administration Irrevocable Trusts
Small Business Planning Qualified Terminable Interest Trusts (Q-TIP)
Federal Estate Tax Planning A/B Trusts
Advance Directives ABC Trusts
Marital Property Agreements Credit Shelter Trusts
Durable Power of Attorney for Finances Bypass Trusts
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Exemption Trusts
Charitable Giving Disclaimer Trusts
  Testamentary Trusts
Charitable Trusts
Settling any disputes
Collecting all probate property of the decedent
Paying all debts, claims and taxes owed by the estate
Collecting all rights to income, dividends, etc.
Distributing or transferring the remaining property to the heirs


Orange County is a county in Southern California, United States. Its county seat is Santa Ana. According to the 2000 Census, its population was 2,846,289, making it the second most populous county in the state of California, and the fifth most populous in the United States. The state of California estimates its population as of 2007 to be 3,098,121 people, dropping its rank to third, behind San Diego County. Thirty-four incorporated cities are located in Orange County; the newest is Aliso Viejo.

Unlike many other large centers of population in the United States, Orange County uses its county name as its source of identification whereas other places in the country are identified by the large city that is closest to them. This is because there is no defined center to Orange County like there is in other areas which have one distinct large city. Five Orange County cities have populations exceeding 170,000 while no cities in the county have populations surpassing 360,000. Seven of these cities are among the 200 largest cities in the United States.

Orange County is also famous as a tourist destination, as the county is home to such attractions as Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm, as well as sandy beaches for swimming and surfing, yacht harbors for sailing and pleasure boating, and extensive area devoted to parks and open space for golf, tennis, hiking, kayaking, cycling, skateboarding, and other outdoor recreation. It is at the center of Southern California's Tech Coast, with Irvine being the primary business hub.

The average price of a home in Orange County is $541,000. Orange County is the home of a vast number of major industries and service organizations. As an integral part of the second largest market in America, this highly diversified region has become a Mecca for talented individuals in virtually every field imaginable. Indeed the colorful pageant of human history continues to unfold here; for perhaps in no other place on earth is there an environment more conducive to innovative thinking, creativity and growth than this exciting, sun bathed valley stretching between the mountains and the sea in Orange County.

Orange County was Created March 11 1889, from part of Los Angeles County, and, according to tradition, so named because of the flourishing orange culture. Orange, however, was and is a commonplace name in the United States, used originally in honor of the Prince of Orange, son-in-law of King George II of England.

Incorporated: March 11, 1889
Legislative Districts:
* Congressional: 38th-40th, 42nd & 43
* California Senate: 31st-33rd, 35th & 37
* California Assembly: 58th, 64th, 67th, 69th, 72nd & 74

County Seat: Santa Ana
County Information:
Robert E. Thomas Hall of Administration
10 Civic Center Plaza, 3rd Floor, Santa Ana 92701
Telephone: (714)834-2345 Fax: (714)834-3098
County Government Website:


City of Aliso Viejo, 92653, 92656, 92698
City of Anaheim, 92801, 92802, 92803, 92804, 92805, 92806, 92807, 92808, 92809, 92812, 92814, 92815, 92816, 92817, 92825, 92850, 92899
City of Brea, 92821, 92822, 92823
City of Buena Park, 90620, 90621, 90622, 90623, 90624
City of Costa Mesa, 92626, 92627, 92628
City of Cypress, 90630
City of Dana Point, 92624, 92629
City of Fountain Valley, 92708, 92728
City of Fullerton, 92831, 92832, 92833, 92834, 92835, 92836, 92837, 92838
City of Garden Grove, 92840, 92841, 92842, 92843, 92844, 92845, 92846
City of Huntington Beach, 92605, 92615, 92646, 92647, 92648, 92649
City of Irvine, 92602, 92603, 92604, 92606, 92612, 92614, 92616, 92618, 92619, 92620, 92623, 92650, 92697, 92709, 92710
City of La Habra, 90631, 90632, 90633
City of La Palma, 90623
City of Laguna Beach, 92607, 92637, 92651, 92652, 92653, 92654, 92656, 92677, 92698
City of Laguna Hills, 92637, 92653, 92654, 92656
City of Laguna Niguel
, 92607, 92677
City of Laguna Woods, 92653, 92654
City of Lake Forest, 92609, 92630, 92610
City of Los Alamitos, 90720, 90721
City of Mission Viejo, 92675, 92690, 92691, 92692, 92694
City of Newport Beach, 92657, 92658, 92659, 92660, 92661, 92662, 92663
City of Orange, 92856, 92857, 92859, 92861, 92862, 92863, 92864, 92865, 92866, 92867, 92868, 92869
City of Placentia, 92870, 92871
City of Rancho Santa Margarita, 92688, 92679
City of San Clemente, 92672, 92673, 92674
City of San Juan Capistrano, 92675, 92690, 92691, 92692, 92693, 92694
City of Santa Ana, 92701, 92702, 92703, 92704, 92705, 92706, 92707, 92708, 92711, 92712, 92725, 92728, 92735, 92799
City of Seal Beach, 90740
City of Stanton, 90680
City of Tustin, 92780, 92781, 92782
City of Villa Park, 92861, 92867
City of Westminster, 92683, 92684, 92685
City of Yorba Linda, 92885, 92886, 92887

Noteworthy communities Some of the communities that exist within city limits are listed below: * Anaheim Hills, Anaheim * Balboa Island, Newport Beach * Corona del Mar, Newport Beach * Crystal Cove/Pelican Hill, Newport Beach * Capistrano Beach, Dana Point * El Modena, Orange * French Park, Santa Ana * Floral Park, Santa Ana * Foothill Ranch, Lake Forest * Monarch Beach, Dana Point * Nellie Gail, Laguna Hills * Northwood, Irvine * Woodbridge, Irvine * Newport Coast, Newport Beach * Olive, Orange * Portola Hills, Lake Forest * San Joaquin Hills, Laguna Niguel * San Joaquin Hills, Newport Beach * Santa Ana Heights, Newport Beach * Tustin Ranch, Tustin * Talega, San Clemente * West Garden Grove, Garden Grove * Yorba Hills, Yorba Linda * Mesa Verde, Costa Mesa

Unincorporated communities These communities are outside of the city limits in unincorporated county territory: * Coto de Caza * El Modena * Ladera Ranch * Las Flores * Midway City * Orange Park Acres * Rossmoor * Silverado Canyon * Sunset Beach * Surfside * Trabuco Canyon * Tustin Foothills

Adjacent counties to Orange County Are: * Los Angeles County, California - north, west * San Bernardino County, California - northeast * Riverside County, California - east * San Diego County, California - southeast


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Aliso Viejo, 92653, 92656, 92698, Anaheim, 92801, 92802, 92803, 92804, 92805, 92806, 92807, 92808, 92809, 92812, 92814, 92815, 92816, 92817, 92825, 92850, 92899, Brea, 92821, 92822, 92823, Buena Park, 90620, 90621, 90622, 90623, 90624, Costa Mesa, 92626, 92627, 92628, Cypress, 90630, Dana Point, 92624, 92629, Fountain Valley, 92708, 92728, Fullerton, 92831, 92832, 92833, 92834, 92835, 92836, 92837, 92838, Garden Grove, 92840, 92841, 92842, 92843, 92844, 92845, 92846, Huntington Beach, 92605, 92615, 92646, 92647, 92648, 92649, Irvine, 92602, 92603, 92604, 92606, 92612, 92614, 92616, 92618, 92619, 92620, 92623, 92650, 92697, 92709, 92710, La Habra, 90631, 90632, 90633, La Palma, 90623, Laguna Beach, 92607, 92637, 92651, 92652, 92653, 92654, 92656, 92677, 92698, Laguna Hills, 92637, 92653, 92654, 92656, Laguna Niguel, 92607, 92677, Laguna Woods, 92653, 92654, Lake Forest, 92609, 92630, 92610, Los Alamitos, 90720, 90721, Mission Viejo, 92675, 92690, 92691, 92692, 92694, Newport Beach, 92657, 92658, 92659, 92660, 92661, 92662, 92663, Orange, 92856, 92857, 92859, 92861, 92862, 92863, 92864, 92865, 92866, 92867, 92868, 92869, Placentia, 92870, 92871, Rancho Santa Margarita, 92688, 92679, San Clemente, 92672, 92673, 92674, San Juan Capistrano, 92675, 92690, 92691, 92692, 92693, 92694, Santa Ana, 92701, 92702, 92703, 92704, 92705, 92706, 92707, 92708, 92711, 92712, 92725, 92728, 92735, 92799, Seal Beach, 90740, Stanton, 90680, Tustin, 92780, 92781, 92782, Villa Park, 92861, 92867, Westminster, 92683, 92684, 92685, Yorba Linda, 92885, 92886, 92887, Coto de Caza, El Modena, Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, Midway City, Orange Park Acres, Rossmoor, Silverado Canyon, Sunset Beach, Surfside, Trabuco Canyon, Tustin Foothills