On another page I explained that a Last Will and Testament or Will is an estate planning document that is commonly used to distribute assets that one has accumulated at the time of death. A Trust is another estate planning document that has become increasingly popular for estate planning due to recent technology making it affordable. The use of word processing and computers has allowed attorneys to offer trusts as an affordable method to hold and distribute your assets at the time of death. Trusts may be called Irrevocable, Testamentary or Revocable .
An Irrevocable Trust is usually used for tax reasons and prevents you from managing or using your assets while you are living. This type of trust may never be modified by you. A Testamentary Trust is a Trust created in your Will and is subject to the probate process. A Revocable Living Trust is the estate planning document that meets the needs of most individuals for holding assets and distributing them to family members and friends at the time of death.
A Revocable Living Trust is the document that the vast majority of clients choose for their estate planning today because it allows them to use all of their assets while living and distributes their assets at the time of death avoiding the need for probate at time of death or the need for a guardianship proceeding should they become incompetent. Furthermore, changes can be made to this Trust at any time.
A Revocable Living Trust does not reguire any filings with the IRS, or any other governmental agency. It does not change your income tax status as you will continue to file income tax returns as you have in the past. With this type of Trust you hold three different titles which are: 1) "Grantor" as creator of your trust, and 2) "Trustee" as manager of your trust assets, and 3) "Beneficiary" as the person who benefits from the trust until you die. You will select the person or persons you will want to handle your assets if you become incompetent or die and that person is referred to as your "Successor Trustee". You will select those who tn inherit your assets at the time of your death and those persons become your beneficiaries on your death.
Creating a Revocable Living Trust and the other documents to accompany your trust is step one in the process of good estate planning. Step two is the proper signing of documents. Step three involves the "funding" of your trust which means placing your assets into your trust. As your estate planning attorney I will assist you in seeing that all of these steps are accomplished.
In addition to providing you with your Revocable Living Trust I will also provide you with a Pour-Over Will, a Living Will, a Durable Medical Power of Attorney and a Deed to place your home or condominium into your Trust. I will forward the Deed to the Clerk's office for recording. This Deed will allow you to keep your homestead exemption and also allow you to sell or refinance your home should you ever decide to do so.
Using the Revocable Living Trust as your estate planning document allows you to save your family considerable time, trouble and expense involved in Probate Court at the time of your death or in Guardianship Court should you ever suffer from dementia or senility while living.
My office charges a small fee for the preparation of your Revocable Living Trust and the other documents which are included. Why not make an appointment to discuss these matters with an experienced attorney by calling (561) 863-9962.