No one wants to think about the end of our life, but it’s an inevitable reality. The good news is that there is a lot we can do to make our passing easier on those we love. A living trust is an estate planning document that a person creates during their life. It serves as a guide for managing one’s assets during their lifetime, and it also provides guidelines for disposing of the assets after the person passes away. It appoints a trustee who becomes responsible for managing assets on behalf of a beneficiary. People use a living trust to avoid the probate process.
Some people hire a living trust attorney to help with the estate planning process and to ensure that all of the documentation is filled out accordingly. A living trust lawyer is a specialist in probate law, but it’s not necessary to hire one. However, it can be helpful depending on the circumstances.
Developing a living trust
There are two primary types of living trusts: revocable and irrevocable.
A revocable living trust allows the settlor in charge to become the trustee of the trust. The trustee would then be liable for any estate taxes that are due at the time of death. The trust settlor is also able to change any specifics of the trust at any time, including the ability to set different beneficiaries or amend rules of the trust.
An irrevocable living trust provides the trust settlor with only limited rights over the trust. The trustee gains legal ownership of the trust and has the opportunity to reduce taxes associated with the estate. With an irrevocable living the trust, the beneficiaries are set and cannot be amended by the trust settlor.
The benefits in hiring a living trust attorney
As mentioned, a living trust helps people avoid the probate process, develops a long-term plan for property management, and allows for reduced estate taxes and associated costs. A living trust ceases to exist once the property named in the trust is successfully transferred to the named beneficiaries.
The biggest reason to hire a lawyer for a living trust is if your estate planning is complex. A complex estate plan often involves assets over one million dollars and may include diverse assets. A complex estate plan may also involve a scenario where the person is above state and federal tax exemption limits. These are instances where a person will benefit from the training and guidance of an experienced living trust attorney. However, these are not the only reasons.
For instance, hiring a lawyer may be beneficial if the individual interested in a living trust has a high dollar life insurance policy, or if assistance is required to transfer assets to the trust. Furthermore, a living trust lawyer is helpful if any of the beneficiaries of the trust have special needs and require government assistance.
Having a living trust can help sort out the intricacies of estate planning and lessen the burden that loved ones have to deal with. It can also help to minimize estate taxes. A living trust lawyer is a valuable tool if the person’s estate assets are complex.
Do you have a living trust in place? What persuaded you to develop one? Do you have a greater sense of peace of mind because of your living trust?