Most people associate a trust with somebody who is wealthy or famous. However, creating a living trust can provide numerous benefits to people with all sizes of estates. For example:
- Trusts provide you significant flexibility in controlling when, how and who inherits your assets.
- Trusts allow your loved ones to avoid the time-consuming and expensive probate process.
- Trusts help ensure that your affairs remain private. A will that is submitted for probate usually becomes a matter of public record.
- Trusts can provide a means for avoiding certain taxes.
- A living trust permits you to choose another party to manage your financial affairs if you should become incapacitated and unable to handle them yourself.
- A living trust can avoid certain claims that could be made in a probate estate.
It is important to understand that you will not receive the benefits of a trust if it is not properly “funded.” In other words, you must transfer your property and assets out of your individual name into the name of the trust. This means that the trust becomes the lawful owner of your property and assets. Common examples of property and assets that should be transferred into a trust include real property, business interests, bank accounts, investment accounts, royalty contracts, patent/copyrights, antiques and other valuables. Generally speaking, you should transfer your most valuable assets into the trust.
When you create a trust, you should also create a “pourover will.” This type of will provides that anything you did not specifically transfer into the trust is “poured” over into the trust upon your death. In effect, it is a catch-all to make sure all of your possessions are transferred into your trust.
The Astill Law Office has provided high quality legal services for over 30 years. We specialize in wills, trusts, estate planning, and asset protection. If you have any questions about creating a Trust, Will, or estate planning in general, contact The Astill Law Office at 801-438-8698.