Have you considered that trusts can be excellent tools that can help you manage your assets during your lifetime and help your heirs do the same after your death? A trust can be revocable, meaning you can change it during your lifetime, or irrevocable, meaning that once you put in assets they cannot be removed and must be managed and distributed according to the trust agreement. The trust that meets your needs can be most dependent on your individual circumstances and what you hope to do with the trust assets.
Unless you have minimal assets, your estate will have to go through probate. it may be a good idea to set up a trust now. You can put any and all of your assets into a trust now, whether you have real property, like a house or a boat, multiple bank and brokerage accounts, or life insurance policies with a cash value.
A revocable trust can be useful for many purposes. The fact that it is revocable means the terms of the trust agreement can be changed at any time you wish prior to your death. You are allowed to act as the trustee for your own revocable trust and manage the assets during your lifetime; you simply need to name a successor trustee who will manage or distribute the assets after your death. You can even include a provision in your will stating that any assets not contained in the trust that you own at your death will be placed into your revocable trust, so they avoid going through probate. These assets are “poured” into your living trust, which is why it is sometimes called a “pour-over” provision.
There are a variety of different trust forms. These may include asset protection trusts like a Medicaid trust, a special needs trust, a spendthrift trust, or a trust set up to avoid certain major tax consequences. When setting up any type of trust, you must name a trustee to manage the trust’s assets for the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are the people who will eventually inherit assets from the trust, whether they are provided income over time or the principal is ultimately distributed to them.
Are you interested in discussing what a trust can accomplish? Please reach out to our office to schedule an appointment.