Planning your estate is one of the best things you can do both for yourself and your family. When you pass away, leaving your personal affairs in order will make the entire process of handling your assets, debts, and properties much easier. One way you can begin handling your estate is by establishing a living trust. A living trust is a valuable legal tool that allows you to still control your assets but essentially allocate them once you pass away. Here are some things you need to know:
Why Should You Consider a Living Trust?
A living trust is one form of trust that will hold your assets for you rather than leaving them in your estate individually. Any property you have, such as cash, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, tangible property, real estate, and anything else of value that you own can be placed in a living trust. When you set up a living trust, you must appoint a trustee. This person can manage the property in the trust on your behalf should something happen to you. The trustee can also manage the trust once you pass away to ensure any beneficiaries receive an inheritance based on the trust.
After you pass away, the trustee must distribute the property in the trust according to your wishes. Any taxes or debt you owe will come from the trust first, leaving the rest to be distributed.
If you think you may want to make changes to your trust while you are still alive, make sure you open a revocable living trust. This type of trust can be modified by you when you need to make changes to beneficiaries, add or take away assets, and the like.
Should You Hire an Attorney?
Although there are some estate planning tasks you can do on your own, it is highly advisable to work with an estate planning attorney when managing your affairs, even a living trust. There are a wide variety of estate planning options, with living trusts just being one part. If your estate planning is not done properly, your loved ones could be left with legal and financial problems once you pass away. Although you may wish for your assets to be managed in a certain way, mistakes can be made that will force your loved ones and beneficiaries to do otherwise.
Your attorney can help you set up your living trust, explain how it works, help you as you appoint trustees, explain how the taxes will work, provide options when it comes to how to manage certain beneficiaries, and so on. You will have so many options to consider as you set up a living trust. An attorney can easily explain them to you and help you come up with the right setup for you.
Contact a local trust lawyer to learn more.
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