A Trust is most times the most important part of your estate plan. When you have a trust, it is the trust that does what a will normally does. With a living trust, your assets (your home, bank accounts and stocks, for example) are put into the trust, administered for your benefit during your lifetime, and then transferred to your beneficiaries when you die.
In the trust you identify two sets of people. On the one side are the trustee of the trust. The trustee is the “worker bee, ” and is in charge of the trust assets. While you are alive and well, you are the trustee. That way the trust is transparent as to you. However when you are unable to serve (because of death, or incapacity, or because you are “slowing down” the successor trustee you picked in the trust takes over the trust’s management for your benefit. And at your death, the trustee would then gather your assets, pay any debts, claims and taxes, and distribute your assets according to your instructions. Unlike a will, however, this can all be done without probate, court supervision or approval.
On the other side are the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries of the trust are the people you want to get your assets when you die. Often one of the beneficiaries is also the trustee. Depending on your situation you may include conditions on the bequests for the beneficiaries. Conditions can include age restrictions, funds going into protected trusts, or special needs trusts for the benefit of disabled beneficiaries.
You can come in to talk about it with us. We offer a free half-hour consult, just to talk to you about the project and give you the chance to figure out whether you need us. Yes, we are attorneys, but we don’t bite. Contact us through our online form; ask that your message is forwarded to Kurt.