Palm Harbor Living Trusts
When making an estate plan, you need to decide how to pass property and assets to your beneficiaries and make decisions like whether you want to avoid probate. Many Palm Harbor residents realize that the best option to maintain privacy, quickly pass their assets to their heirs and avoid probate is through a living trust (a/k/a living trust). With a revocable trust, you will maintain control of your assets while you’re alive, and they will be distributed to your beneficiaries when you pass away without having to go through probate. Your living trust will also have safeguards in place if you become incapacitated.This is a big advantage because it provides an extra layer to avoid becoming a “ward” and having someone you do not know possibly in charge of your affairs.
Whether you have a small or large estate, you can benefit from a living trust. Speak to a Palm Harbor living trust lawyer for more information on setting up and funding the trust.
Steps for Creating a Living Trust
You will work with your Palm Harbor living trust attorney to plan, create, and fund the trust. The steps include:
- Deciding between a shared or individual trust
- Selecting the property to include
- Designating a successor trustee
- Designating beneficiaries
- Creating the trust
- Transferring property to the trust
How do Living Trusts Work?
When you create a trust, you can serve as the trustee. You will choose the property you want to place in the trust and then transfer it. Then, you will designate the beneficiaries who will receive the property after you pass away. Your beneficiaries will receive the property quickly since trusts aren’t subject to probate.
You will also need to designate a successor trustee for your trust. The successor trustee will take over management duties if you become incapacitated. He or she will also be responsible for distributing the property when you pass away. The successor trustee must follow the guidelines you set forth when managing and distributing the property.
How to Avoid Guardianship with a Living Trust
As you grow older, you cannot help but worry about what will happen if you become incapacitated. You want to maintain as much control over your situation as possible, and you don’t want to put stress on your family. This is one reason that creating a living trust is so important. Your successor trustee will take over the financial duties without having to petition the court. Without a living trust in place, your loved ones will have to petition for guardianship of your property.
Your attorney can also help you create advanced directives to avoid guardianship of your person. You can use these documents to name a guardian or a health care surrogate. Then, if you do become incapacitated, you can get the care you need without having to go through a difficult legal process. Also, you will get to choose the person or people to take care of you, so you will maintain control, even if you need help making decisions or caring for yourself.
WHY CHOOSE SHERRI M. STINSON, P.A.?
DO YOU STILL NEED A WILL?
It is wise to have a will in place along with trust. If you have minor children, you need a will to designate a guardian. However, if you don’t have minor children, you still need a will in case you forget to transfer property to the trust. Your Palm Harbor living trust lawyer might recommend a pour-over will. This document will name the trust as the beneficiary of all remaining property. The remaining property will go through probate and then go to your trust. Once transferred, your successor trustee will distribute it based on the guidelines of the trust.
CAN YOU CHANGE A LIVING TRUST?
A living trust is revocable, meaning you have the power to modify or cancel it at any time, as long as you are of sound mind. If you want to modify or revoke the trust, contact your Palm Harbor living trust lawyer. Your attorney will go over your needs and make the changes. The lawyer can also revoke the trust and create a new one for you or go over other estate planning options. The ability to maintain control is one of the reasons a living trust is such an attractive estate planning vehicle.
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