How Does a Living Trust Fit Into Estate Planning?

Myrtle Beach living trustWe get a lot of questions from clients about estate planning Myrtle Beach. Almost every client we meet with wishes to avoid probate in an effort to save their heirs the expense and uncertainty of the probate process.  While the probate system is often not as daunting an experience as many may fear, there are methods available to avoid the process altogether.  Enter the “revocable living trust”.

Exactly what is a Revocable Living Trust?

Establishing a Myrtle Beach living trust is something you may want to consider when planning your estate. You need to think about the advantages and disadvantages of a revocable living trust when discussing your estate with your attorney and family members. Keep in mind this vehicle does not totally change a will.

A revocable living trust is created throughout your life time, and you can modify it in any method, and at any time. One key feature is that it permits you to keep control of the management and circulation of your assets.

The Probate Connection

For most individuals a trust is drawn up in order to avoid probate which is the government process for settling an estate. A legal trust is often looked at as a way to avoid assets from an estate going through the probate process.

Many states have revamped the probate process and it is not as cumbersome as it has been in the past. Numerous states have actually embraced the Uniform Probate Code, which significantly simplifies the procedure for numerous small- to medium-sized estates.

Even with these enhancements, the probated properties (not all possessions) in your estate still end up being a matter of public record. For some, this raises personal privacy issues.

Preventing probate may also be advantageous if you own residential or commercial properties outside your state of domicile. If you do, you may be required to go through numerous probate proceedings.

When you set up a revocable living trust, you must transfer your properties into the trust. Failure to do so will subject your possessions to probate. The act of setting up a trust is not enough to avoid probate – all assets need to be retitled as assets of the trust or the document is useless.

Do I Still Need a Will?

Yes. In most instances a living trust will not change the need for a will. Also, you may find there are certain assets that you do not want to put into a trust. For example, it might be unwise to move tangible personal effects such as furniture, antiques, vehicles, or precious jewelry to a trust. As a result, some of your properties will stay outside your trust.

This makes a will necessary to name your desired recipients of those particular items. If you have small children, a will might likewise be used to designate a guardian for them.

Other assets might need special consideration. For example, retirement strategy accounts (Personal Retirement Accounts [IRAs], 401(k)s, and profit-sharing strategies) cannot be retitled to a living trust. You might nevertheless alter the recipient classification to the trust.

Naming someone besides a partner as beneficiary of a qualified retirement plan typically requires spousal permission. In numerous states, partners now have rights to retirement plan benefits. Your accountant can tell you if naming a trust, rather than a spouse, as the benefactor of any retirement plan will have tax consequences.

Revocable Living Trusts and Taxes

A correctly funded living trust may offer (under the ideal circumstances) a possible reduction in estate taxes. The Law Office of Dennis J. DiSabato, Jr. can help you examine all the variables affecting your estate — the type of assets (e.g., realty, life insurance coverage, checking account, savings, company interests, and personal property), where they are located, and how they are titled — to determine if a revocable living trust can assist you fulfill your short and long-term estate preparation goals.

Choosing a Revocable Living Trust Trustee

A trustee is a person or organization selected to administer a trust. A trustee’s function is to abide by the terms of the trust and meet its objectives.

In selecting a trustee, you must weigh the personal, financial, and expert issues, in accordance with the nature and the purpose of the trust.

Consulting The Law Office of Dennis J. DiSabato, Jr. with regards to your estate planning will ensure you are doing what is best for your assets, your family and avoid future legal issues. Call us today to schedule a time to discuss your estate.

The Law Office of Dennis J. DiSabato, Jr., LLC
3888 Renee Drive, Suite 201
Myrtle Beach, SC 29579

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