If you don’t know the advantages of avoiding probate, our attorneys at the Meurer Law Offices in Denver want to tell you 10 facts about living trusts. Did you know that the will is not the only choice you have on how you can pass your estate to your heirs? The revocable living trust may be another good option for you.
An AARP article recommends finding out if a living revocable trust is right for you. We will meet with you and discuss the best estate planning methods to achieve your goals. But let’s take a look at these 10 facts about living trusts suggested by AARP:
- What are the characteristics of a revocable living trust?
A revocable living trust is a legal document that chooses someone to manage your property. As long as you’re mentally competent, you can change the trust or dissolve it at any time for any reason. You are the creator of the trust. You will choose trustees to manage your assets as you direct in the trust, which can include yourself and your spouse as an example. The beneficiaries are those who will benefit from your property when you die.
A revocable trust has these characteristics:
- Avoids probate, but is subject to estate taxes (assets pass directly to the beneficiaries at the time of your death)
- Designates who receives the assets after your death
- Controls assets during your (the grantor’s) lifetime
- Flexible and can be dissolved at any time
- Becomes irrevocable upon the death of the grantor
- Plans for mental disability (if you become mentally incapacitated, your trust can be managed by your disability trustee and not a court-supervised guardian or conservator)
- Protects the privacy of the assets and your beneficiaries when you die. The trust agreement remains private in contrast to a will which is public record and anyone can read it.
- Who can be designated trustees?
As with all types of trusts, any mentally competent adult is allowed to be named a trustee. Usually, you and your spouse or other trusted friends/family members will be the trustees. This gives you full control of your property as long as you are alive. If you become ill or disabled and can’t manage your property, the other named trustees will manage it for you.
- What amount of money has to be put in a living trust at the start?
It is up to you how much money you put in your trust during the estate planning process.
- Describe the difference between a living trust and a will.
Wills and living trusts both contain your inheritance instructions dealing with what will happen to your assets when you die. There may also be conditions to receive the assets as well as other instructions dealing with minor children and other concerns.
As mentioned above, a living trust is often used for people who seek privacy and want to avoid probate. Wills are usually less complicated and less expensive and work well in many circumstances.
- What happens if I don’t have a will or a living trust?
If you don’t have a will or a living trust, your property will usually go to your spouse or your closest heirs. Without a legal document stating your desires, the distribution of your assets may not end up where you wanted. In addition, without a will or a living trust, someone you don’t trust could be assigned to manage the distribution of your property or be the legal guardian of your minor children.
- Is there additional work and costs if I add or delete property or investments in a living trust?
Very little additional time is needed to maintain your trust with your property and investments.
- What does a revocable living trust do?
A living trust allows you to distribute your property the way you want without having to go through probate and possibly save estate taxes. It could also be used as a substitute for powers of attorney. However, it can’t stop a family member or other party from challenging the trust.
- Should I get an attorney to prepare a living trust?
It is always best to have an attorney prepare legal documents. Contact us, and we will be glad to help you set up a trust.
- What is the cost of setting up a living trust?
Our fees are reasonable and will depend on the complexity and size of your assets.
- How do I decide if a revocable living trust is right for me?
We offer a free initial consultation so we can sit down with you and discuss your particular needs. We will explain the options and benefits of each. We will help you decide which one will serve you best.
The Meurer Law Offices in Denver offer reasonable fees, a welcoming office environment, friendly and knowledgeable attorneys, and a convenient location. So come in and let’s talk about these 10 facts about living trusts and see if it’s right for you.