Trusts And Estates
All too often, people put off their estate planning until it is too late. If you pass away and don't have a specific plan in place concerning your estate, your family could end up losing out. Like most people, you probably want to protect your loved ones in the event of your passing; assigning a few of them as trustees is one great starting point. Still, estates and trusts are complicated matters that are best handled with the help of a trusted advisor--and a qualified trust attorney.
What Role Do Trusts Play in Estate Planning?
A trust is a legal entity that's created for estate planning purposes. During your lifetime, you can transfer ownership of all or some of your assets (things such as money, stocks and real estate) to the trust. You can continue to use and benefit from those assets, but after your death, the trust transfers ownership of those assets to your heirs according to your instructions.
Trusts offer some advantages over a last will and testament. Because the trust's property is distributed separately from your will, it's not part of the probate process. That means the property can be distributed to heirs more quickly and more privately. There can also be tax advantages when using a trust. It can also be useful if you want to distribute the assets gradually to your heirs or if you want to leave an inheritance to a minor child.
Your trusts and estates attorneys can explain the benefits of trusts in more detail and help you decide if a trust makes sense for you.
Things to Keep in Mind When Creating a Trust
By retaining a trusts and estates lawyer, you can have the vast majority of your estate planning in order in no time. Still, you should familiarize yourself with the basics so that you aren't completely in the dark about things. Keep these points in mind:
- Look over your retirement benefits now and make sure that you are setting aside enough to cover your living expenses and any expenses that your survivors may incur in the event of your death.
- Have a valuation performed on your home and on your other major assets. In fact, you should have a valuation conducted once every few years, since situations and circumstances do change over time.
- With the help of an experienced trusts attorney, look over your financial situation to ensure that you won't incur any penalties concerning taxation down the line. Otherwise, you or your survivors might be slapped with a very unpleasant bill.
- You've worked hard to accumulate the wealth that you have over your lifetime. Protecting that wealth is important, and doing so is much easier when you have a great team on your side. Find and retain an experienced trust and estate attorney and allow them to help you get your estate in order.
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