Estate Planning – Establishing a Living Trust
Estate planning utilizes a living trust legal document. Living trusts are established to provided security for loved ones after a person has passed and to ensure their assets are divided in a way they would wish. However, unlike a will, when a person makes a living trust, all assets placed in the trust are handed over to a trustee to be managed until the time when it is necessary to pass them along.
Choosing a trustee is important and the trustee will have complete managerial control over all assets in the trust. A common tactic people use is appointing themselves as the trustee, thus allowing them to retain control over their assets while they are still alive. While this may seem like a good idea, there are a few unfortunate consequences it could bring. For example, if the trustee becomes incapacitated – whether due to illness, aging, or otherwise – the trust is left without management. This can be avoided, however, by naming a successor trustee should the original trustee become unable or unwilling.
Do You Need a Living Trust?
A living trust is usually beneficial if you own a home, a condo or real property. It avoids expensive probate cost, and minimize delays (that could be a year) for distribution of assets to beneficiaries. Likewise, those who have a very simple estate such as apartment renters with savings, jewelry, and collectables are usually better suited for an estate plans without a trust.
As a rule, the greater the assets value, the greater the need for a living trust. Acting as a fail-safe against unforeseen tragedy, a living trust serves a similar purpose as a living will except that all assets are already contained and established into a protected trust. In the case of an accident, assets are registered within the legal system with court supervision to prevent any debate or complications regarding beneficiaries and distribution.
How to Establish a Living Trust
The first step toward setting it up is finding a firm to handle the legal work. Our firm offers excellent value and positive results. We are experienced estate planning attorneys. At the Law Offices of Alice Salvo, all attorneys are specialized in estate planning. Working solely in matters of trusts, wills, and elder law, they possess in-depth knowledge, in addition to years of experience, regarding establishing and managing trusts and estate assets.
After the trust is established, assets need to be placed within it in a process known as funding the trust. Preparation of real estate deeds and any other assets may be transferred. Funding a trust does require time and a decent amount of paper work. To avoid probate arguments, it’s advised that all assets be transferred.