A living trust provides lifetime and after-death property management. If you are serving as your own trustee, the trust instrument will provide for a successor upon your death or incapacity. Court intervention is not required. Livings trusts also are used to manage property. If a person is disabled by accident or illness, the successor trustee can manage the trust property. As a result, the expense, publicity, and inconvenience of court-supervised distribution of your estate can be avoided
If a living trust is properly written and funded you can:
• Avoid probate on your assets
• Plan for the possibility of your own incapacity
• Control what happens to your property after you are gone
• Use it for any size estate; and
• Prevent your financial affairs from becoming a matter of public record
When it comes to helping protect and manage your assets, a trust may be one of the best, most flexible tools available. And contrary to common perception, trusts aren’t just for the very old or the very wealthy. In fact, considering a trust can be important for anyone with substantial assets or who may receive substantial death benefits.
If you can identify with any of the following statements, it may be time to establish a personal trust:
• I want to preserve my assets so that my loved ones or my favorite charity will receive the most of what I’m able to leave behind.
• I wish to ensure that my heirs have timely access to my assets and avoid the potential costs and time delays associated with distributing wealth through probate.
• I would like to reduce my potential estate taxes while providing support for my surviving spouse. • I would like the comfort of knowing that if something were to happen to me, there is someone ready to act on my behalf to carry out my wishes.
• I have special circumstances that require specific instructions to care for a child with special needs or address a unique family situation.
• I would like assistance in implementing long-term financial- and estate-planning solutions through active and ongoing portfolio management.
• I would like to keep my personal affairs as private as possible.
• I would like to leave a legacy that includes charitable giving
Key Benefits of Trusts
• Potentially reduce income and estate taxes
• Maintain confidentiality
• Help protect the inheritances of your children
• Help ensure that your assets are distributed the way you intended
• Avoid the cost, time, and publicity of probate
• Make gifts to charities
• Help provide security for your family after your death
Generally speaking, trusts enable you to pass your assets to your heirs in a quick and efficient manner outside of probate. Probate is the legal process of distributing wealth after death, pursuant to a decedent’s will or, if none, a state’s intestacy laws. It is a public process and can be costly and time consuming. A Revocable Trust, which may be referred to as a living trust, is a flexible arrangement you can change or dissolve at any time. There are many benefits to this type of trust, including continuous management of assets, ability to easily change the trustee, and avoidance of probate. They are, however, included in your estate for estate tax purposes.
An Irrevocable Trust can be used to address specialized estate-planning objectives and may help individuals with substantial assets reduce their estate tax liability. The primary benefit of this type of trust is that its structure may exclude assets and their future appreciation from your estate. However, once you’ve established the terms of an irrevocable trust, you effectively give up control and ownership of the assets you place in it. Choosing a Trustee One of the most important decisions you’ll face when establishing your trust is the selection of your trustee(s). The trustee is responsible for distributing income and principal to the beneficiaries of the trust, according to the terms specified by you in the trust agreement. Although some individuals name themselves, a family member, or a friend, others prefer to choose a trusted financial institution for this important role.