Estate Planning | Living Trust

Estate Planning | A living trust is one of the tools used in estate planning. Although it can sound like something daunting, a living trust is actually just a form of ownership of assets.

The grantor creates the trust and funds it, i.e. places assets in the trust. A beneficiary, someone who benefits from the assets of the trust, is named. A trustee is appointed to manage the trust for the benefit of the beneficiary. The trustee can be a person, bank or trust company. Once the trust is in place, the trustee is free to invest, spend or otherwise manage the assets as he or she sees fit for the good of the beneficiary. Provisions of a trust can be changed or revoked at any time during the grantor’s life so long as competency of the grantor can be established.

There are advantages to creating a living trust. Some vary depending on the size of a person’s estate. For instance, in large estates, a trust can minimize the amount of estate taxes that are due. In all cases, a trust can keep assets out of probate court following the death of the grantor. For those owning property in more than one state, it eliminates the need for probate in each state if the assets are placed in the trust prior to death. An important benefit to creating a living trust is that it names a party to handle the affairs of the beneficiary should he or she become unable to do so. This can greatly reduce the need for a court appointed guardian due to some type of mental or physical incapacitation.

As with all estate planning, it is best to consult with an attorney to discuss all of the options available to decide if a living trust would be advantageous in your situation.

 
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