Trusts carry out your wishes on your behalf
There is often a lot of confusion about what a trust is or can do. Trusts are a type of legal entity that you can transfer your assets to, in order to protect them (either from the probate court or from an unwanted court-appointed financial manager in the event of incapacitation). Because you ‘own’ the trust, you still ‘own’ the assets, but creating a trust can allow you a certain financial leverage that could be of benefit to you and your loved ones. While there are many types of trusts, revocable living trusts are the most common.
Revocable Living Trusts
Unlike a will, a revocable trust states what happens to your assets during your lifetime, provides for incapacitation, and instructs how your assets should be managed upon death. The trust, which holds your assets, is managed by a trustee. You can appoint yourself or another to be the trustee. Appointing someone you trust to be the co-trustee or successor trustee provides you a lot of latitude. You can:
- Ensure that, despite mental or physical infirmity, your assets are handled how you desire, as the successor trustee will be able to act in accordance with your legally defined wishes.
- Choose a successor trustee who will help protect your family from financial mismanagement or disruption as family members diverge on how to handle your affairs.
- Protect your assets in a way that gives you easy ability to make changes as you see fit.
Revocable trusts take some careful footwork to set into place. However, they give you a lot of options for how to handle your estate.
An Attentive Attorney Carefully Plans Your Wishes
Putting off decisions about living wills or trusts could add to the heartache of your loved ones down the line. These sorts of decisions should be handled with care and tailored to the individual. I will work with you to find the best set of tools for you and your loved ones. Check out this estate planning checklist to help get the process started.