There are many ways of delegating ones inheritance. While creating a will is the most common method, a living trust is also used in delegating responsibilities of who should have what or in administration and distribution of assets or properties. A living trust is an agreement that shows how property or assets should be distributed and managed in someone’s lifetime and after death.
Normally, a living trust involves three parties namely:
Trustor or the grantor – this is the person creating the living trust or who is distributing his or her assets. Trustee also known as executor is the person to whom the responsibility of management has been entrusted. However, in living trust the grantor continues to be the trustee until the time of his death when the named trustee takes over.
Beneficiaries –these are people who benefit from the distribution of assets. In most cases, they are family members.Unlike a will, a living trust is used even when someone is alive but a will only applies after death. It can be termed revocable in cases where the grantor or trustor chooses to change its conditions. In most cases, an attorney is consulted when preparing a living trust but can also be prepared in his absence. However, it is recommended to seek the attorney’s aid as he gives clear guidelines on preparation. In addition, people choose to have a living trust in order to avoid probate process which tends to strain the family in terms of expenses and time.
How a Living Trust Attorney can Help People in Court
Generally, an attorney plays a vital role in preparation of a living trust. He participates in the process of writing a living trust together with the grantor where the grantor expresses his or her wishes on how the assets should be distributed among the potential beneficiaries. In most cases, the attorney might act as a trustee or executor of a living trust. However, an attorney can serve as a trustee in a situation where the grantor has full trust on the attorney as a custodian of his or her assets. Likewise, the grantor may seek the services of an attorney in the process of creating a living trust but identify a trustee from his or her most trusted family member, associates or friends.
The main purpose of involving an attorney in the process of establishing a living trust is to avoid probate process. A living trust attorney understands the duties and the mandate of a trustee or executor thus in the event of a court proceeding relating to distribution of assets he or she can help in ensuring proper and fair distribution of grantor’s assets. This is because, an attorney is expected to ensure proper procedures are followed as stipulated in the written living trust. An attorney can also help in a court proceeding by making presentations aimed at proving that all assets of the grantor were included when creating a living trust. This is imperative because it will help in reducing or eliminating any possibility of disputes emanating from potential beneficiaries and family members.
In addition, an attorney can help a person in a court proceeding by making presentations intended at justifying that the methodology of asset distribution as stipulated in the living trust reflect the will and wishes of the grantor at the time of creating the living trust. This helps in making sure that there is fairness in the distribution of grantor’s assets to specified beneficiaries and eliminate any possibility of disputes among the beneficiaries.
Role of Living Trust Attorney in Creating a Living Trust
Certainly, creating a living trust can be quite complex as one does not have enough knowledge on what to list and how to do it. Therefore, the guidance of an experienced attorney in estate planning could be of great help and could avoid future challenges of living trust in court by beneficiaries or other people. Some of the assistance an attorney can offer includes ensuring that all assets were considered. In this case, one has to enlist all the properties to avoid leaving out of some. Failure to list all assets means that the probate process might take place thereafter as no one is entitled to unlisted assets.
An attorney will guide in ensuring use of right terms and language. For instance, some living trust, such as special needs trust require precise language for them to be accepted or recognized. One of the most common mistakes that people make when creating a living trust is making the wrong choice of trustee. An attorney will guide and ensure that the right trustee has been entrusted, someone who understands the duties involved and can easily handle the task. Also an attorney can be of great aid in ensuring that one chooses the right kind of trust either a revocable trust or irrevocable also one should be sure whether he or she wants a living trust or a will.
As stated above, it is evident that a creating a living trust is essential in ensuring equitable distribution of assets in the event the grantor dies. This is important in preventing possible disputes arising from disagreements regarding the sharing of assets among the beneficiaries. It is also evident that an attorney should be involved to ensure creation of a proper living trust document.