How to: Set up a Living Trust
A Living Trust is a document establishing a beneficiary of your property should you die or become ill. It creates a trust while you are alive rather than by the terms of a will at your death. A Living Trust can be revoked or amended at any point during your lifetime. It can also be invoked while you are still alive, should you become incapacitated and unable to manage your own properties and assets.
Benefits of a Living Trust
Like a Power of Attorney, creating a Living Trust should be a part of your estate planning process. It is usually used by individuals with complex financial situations, but even if you don’t fit this category, there are many benefits to establishing a Living Trust:
● You spare your family the cost and time of probate administration. This reduces the amount of paperwork needed after the time of your death and can save money.
● Depending on the type of trust created and the complexities of the assets involved, estate taxes could be reduced.
● Creating long-term property management. Property and assets can be turned over to the trustee should you become incapacitated. A will only becomes activated at the time of your death.
Setting up a Living Trust
Preparing these documents while you are of sound mind and in good health is key to helping your family through what will already be a difficult time. Creating a Living Trust is simple when you have an attorney on your side to guide you through the process. To set up your Living Trust you will need:
● A list of all of your properties and assets.
● The name and relation of the trustee.
● Any special instructions, including when the trust can be activated.
The trustee may need to be present at the signing of these documents. Contacting your banks and updating wills, deeds or any other documents will also be helpful to your trustee.
Unfortunately, there are many Living Trust scams out there, including kits with pre-packaged documents. A Living Trust is not always a “one size fits all” document, so it is important to have a trusted attorney or estate planner on your side that knows the laws specific to your state. Some states have barred outside-of-state sales of estate planning tools, so please keep this in mind when establishing a Living Trust and other estate planning documents. At Wilson Law, P.A., we have experience in creating estate planning documents such as Living Trusts. We are here to help, so please contact us today for a consultation in one of our many practice areas.