A Living Trust Attorney is a person who helps individuals create and establish living trusts. This is a type of estate planning tool that allows an individual to transfer their assets directly to their beneficiaries rather than through the probate process. This can save time, money and avoid disputes among family members over inheritances. A qualified living trust attorney can help an individual decide if this is the best option for their estate plan.
An individual who wants to use a living trust needs to prepare their trust documents outlining their wishes for their property. They must also name a trustee to manage the trust and identify their beneficiaries. Then, the assets must be transferred into the trust, a process called “funding.” Assets that can be placed in a living trust include real estate and bank accounts. There are two types of trusts: revocable and irrevocable. A revocable living trust can be changed or cancelled at any time during an individual’s lifetime. An irrevocable trust, on the other hand, cannot be edited once it is established.
When an individual passes away, the trustee of their living trust will distribute their property according to their wishes. This can avoid the costly and lengthy probate process, ensuring that beneficiaries receive their inheritance in an efficient and timely manner. However, it is important to have a well-drafted and thorough living trust document in order to ensure that the trustee is following all of the instructions in the trust document.
Using a living trust can also help to avoid certain taxes. In general, an estate will only have to pay federal estate taxes if its net value is above the tax exempt amount at that time. A revocable living trust can reduce the overall size of an individual’s estate, potentially saving their beneficiaries thousands of dollars in taxes.
Another benefit of a living trust is that it can be used to name a successor trustee who will manage the trust and its assets in case of incapacitation or disability. This can be especially beneficial for married couples where both spouses work and have joint assets. This can avoid the need to file for a durable power of attorney, which may not be effective or recognized by the courts.
If you own real estate in more than one state, a living trust is generally a better choice than a will. A Will must go through ancillary probate laws in each state that the real estate is located in, which can add to the cost, time and headache of transferring the property. A revocable living trust can avoid this problem by avoiding probate in multiple states.
A Living Trust Attorney can help individuals establish a living trust, ensuring that it is properly funded and that all of the steps are taken to avoid probate. They can also assist with other aspects of estate planning, such as creating a power of attorney and determining whether or not a person should have a guardianship.