Many people find it hard to discuss and talk about estate planning. Often associated with death, this is a way wherein you efficiently take control of your assets (tangible and intangible) by designating who gets what upon your death.
One way to do so is by setting up a living trust agreement. But while different self-help materials are available online and on print, this is something you shouldn’t handle yourself. Hiring an estate planning attorney is still the most cost-effective solution.
The Benefits of a Living Trust Agreement
Apart from having peace of mind, here are the benefits you can get by setting up a living trust.
Keeping things private. Unlike a will (whose details go on public once presented to court), a living trust allows you to keep things hidden from the public’s eyes.
Avoiding the long process of probate. For you to distribute your assets through a will, it needs to go through probate. You can avoid this rather long legal process when you have a living trust.
Saving on legal expenses and fees. Going through probate entails a lot of costs. You can avoid spending money on this one by setting up a living trust while you’re still in good financial, physical and even emotional condition.
How To Set Up a Living Trust Agreement
Like what we’ve mentioned earlier, drafting a living trust agreement is something that shouldn’t be done DIY-style. Hiring an estate planning attorney is the best way to set up this legal document.
Nonetheless, it would still be best if you have fundamental know-how about this rather vital document. Here’s how a living trust should be set up:
Know the different types of trust and choose which works best for you
A trust can be revocable (you can change the details while you’re still alive) or irrevocable. It can also be categorized as an asset protection trust (to protect it from future creditors) or a charitable trust (whose ultimate beneficiary is charity). Talk about the pros and cons of each one with your lawyer and choose which one works best according to your preference and situation.
Identify and enumerate the assets to be covered by your trust
Assets can range from tangible materials like properties and cars to intangible counterparts like stocks. When setting up a trust, make a list of all the assets you want to be covered. All pertinent paperwork (e.g. Titles, stock certificates) should also be secured.
Decide who are the recipients of your assets to be distributed
Perhaps the most important part, the next thing you’d need to do is choose who are the beneficiaries. Name the persons or organizations you’d like to benefit from the assets that will be distributed.
Name a trustee who will help in administering the document
Another vital thing you’d need to accomplish is choosing the person who’d serve as your trustee. He or she will be responsible for helping administer whatever is stipulated in your living trust. Make sure you choose someone who has your complete trust.
Are you planning to set up a living trust agreement? Let our estate planning attorney at Moses & Moses help you. Contact us today!