Protect your assets and avoid Probate Court with a Living Trust
- Avoid a costly probate
- Wills, Power of Attorney’s, & Trust all in one package
- Make your own decisions about your estate
What is a Living Trust?
A Living Trust is a third party entity that can own property. You can place all of your assets into one document that determines who your property will go to at your death. Your property has already been gathered together so it can be easily distributed to your loved ones at your death.
Once you put your property into a Living Trust the trust owns the assets and they no longer belong to you however you own the trust that owns the property you placed into it! You will be called the Grantor and will appoint yourself as the trustee so that you will still control all of your assets.
A Living Trust will keep your family from trying to gather your assets after your death. Since a Trust owns your assets and are no longer in your name your family will not have to file a Court action called a probate to sell the property that is in the name of a deceased person. A Trust under current law also can help minimize or eliminate estate taxes.
What Documents are in a Living Trust?
The Living Trust is the holding document for your assets. You receive a Last Will and Testament with a “pour over clause” which states that if you have any property that has not been placed into the Living Trust the will places these assets under the jurisdiction of the Trust. You also receive a Living Will which states your medical desires and a Healthcare Power of Attorney giving someone that ability to make health decisions for your. You will receive a Durable Power of Attorney naming a personal representative who can make financial decisions for you if you are incapacitated or out of the State or Country. you will receive a Trust Certification and a statement listing all of your assets.
Do all of my assets have to be placed into the Living Trust
The answer is no. You can leave your life insurance policies, retirement programs, stock programs, etc., from the trust and leave them directly to your spouse, children or other relatives. You can also transfer real estate to your family by a beneficiary deed. The Living Trust is normally considered to be the best vehicle for dealing with the assets of your estate as it names who gets the asset, who will distribute them and in what amounts each will get.
What is the most important part of forming a Living Trust?
The most important part of the Living Trust is “funding” the Trust. Many Trusts are prepared with expensive paper, beautiful leather bound binders with golden tips on the corner and your names engraved that are never “funded.” These trusts can cost thousands of dollars and are absolutely worthless! “Funding” mean you must put the name of your real estate in your Trust so that the trust owns the real estate. If you have bank accounts, retirement account, life insurance, & vehicles. All of these assets must be either placed into the name of the Trust so the Trust will own the assets or else the Trust must be the beneficiary of that particular account or property.
Is the preparation of a Living Trust difficult?
No. Once you have a list of the assets you wish to transfer into the trust the balance of information that is needed is not a great deal. We will need information on (1) What will you name the Trust? (2) Who will be the Successor Trustee that administrates the trust assets at death? Normally in a trust where man and wife are involved it will be the surviving spouse. The alternate Trustee is normally one of the surviving children. Also needed are the names of the family that will receive your property and their addresses.
Can I revoke a Living Trust?
Yes, you can revoke a Living Trust at any time and put the assets back into your name. You can also take the property out of the trust and sell it.