ESTATE PLANNING   PROBATE   TRUST ADMINISTRATION  WILLS   INHERITANCE

Trust Administration

 

To administer a Trust, the trustee must understand the provisions of the Trust and how they relate to the trustees duties and responsibilities for the Trust and the duties and responsibilities to the beneficiaries of the Trust.

 

Are Trusts Only For Rich People?

There are many advantages that a trust has over a simple will. A revocable living trust is a legal mechanism/contract for gathering assets in one place, and it is an important financial management tool. The Trustee of your Living Trust can manage all of your assets. You can serve as the Trustee of your trust while you are living, and you can appoint a successor Trustee to manage your financial affairs should you become incapacitated and/or pass away.  A revocable living trust is an excellent planning tool in the case of future disability.  As compared with a Power of Attorney, it offers more flexibility than a Power of Attorney.

You do not have to be wealthy to have a trust. A living trust makes sense for people with moderate assets who want to clearly set forth the directives for their estate once they have passed. A trust sets forth how you want your assets distributed and/or managed upon your death or disability.

A properly funded revocable living trust ("funded" means all assets have been properly transferred to the trust) provides the following advantages and benefits: 

  • Gathers assets in one place, which eliminates many management problems and paper work for beneficiaries
  • Names a trustee (family member or professional) who can manage all the trust's assets if the Grantor/Settlor/Trustor (the person who established the trust) becomes incapacitated
  • Eliminates the need for a court-appointed guardian (important because anyone can petition the court to be appointed guardian for an individual who is not able to handle their own financial affairs)
  • Financial institutions that hold legal title to the assets can rely on the actions of the trustee
  • Doesn't require special tax forms on April 15 because a revocable trust is not taxed as an entity, taxes are assessed at the Grantor/Settlor/Trustor's tax rate
  • Changes can be made with a very simple "Trust Amendment"
  • Avoids probate, probate hearings, and the probate paper work
  • If you have a Will, it will have to pass through probate to be enforceable
  • Keeps financial information private at death
  • Can set up other trusts for your beneficiaries upon your death (separate share trusts)
  • Usually, a simple revocable trust costs less than the average costs of a simple probate.

 A living trust, however, will not solve all incapacity and estate issues, and it is not the best instrument for everyone. It will not:

  •  Avoid probate for assets held outside the trust
  • Protect assets from creditors
  • Be effective unless the trust is properly funded (each asset you own is placed within the trust and retitled in the name of the trustee of the trust)

 To benefit from the advantages of a living trust set up a consult with my law firm to discuss your unique financial situation.

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