Living Trusts remain untapped potential for most people as they either aren’t aware of them or have many questions that a seasoned Estate Planning lawyer can readily address, asserted Sioux Falls attorney Jayna M. Voss. —
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The Estate Planning Attorney and co-founder of Legacy Law Firm, P.C., said a revocable living trust enables you to place assets into trust over time. Such assets can be utilized by yourself but are owned in the name of the trust and overseen by a nominated trustee. The assets are distributed after death to named beneficiaries as detailed in the trust.
But there remain several questions that Voss has suggested a person needs to ask their estate planning attorney to understand better what living trusts are all about.
One question that does arise is what property or asset can be placed in a trust. “Assets such as retirement accounts do not apply,” Voss countered, adding that the more property added to a trust, the more beneficial it will be.
Choosing the right trustee usually sees most people naming themselves to administer the trust, but they may have to name a successor if the trust remains active when they become incapacitated or after death.
Raising questions about taxable impacts in trusts and how they can help avoid the probate process should also be addressed to an experienced Estate Planning attorney, said Voss.
“Living trusts offer diverse benefits. One includes the fact that trust assets can be distributed soon after death, negating the time period for a will to be probated,” the attorney added.
Another benefit of a living trust is that because it is not an irrevocable trust, a person can alter it at any time. Voss said they could even dissolve the trust at any point, and as it is not probated, it never becomes public.
Voss said that the downside of a trust could be forgetting to assert a change of ownership of an asset which would then not be covered by the trust. Assets not included in a trust are subject to standard state intestacy laws.
Voss also recommended raising several questions with an estate planning attorney around the need for a will to run alongside a trust, the need for a power of attorney and to understand the difference between what a trust can deliver compared to a will.
“Living trusts can be an essential element in estate planning,” Voss concluded. “An attorney specialized in this field will be able to answer any questions.”
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