Living Trust Lawyer
No matter the size or value of your estate, having a living trust will ensure your estate is well-protected after your death. A living trust can both give you and your family peace of mind and ensure that your wishes are accurately followed. The right living trust will also ensure rapid distribution of your assets to the right parties and no unnecessary taxes. Since a living trust will be one of the most important documents drafted in your lifetime, there are four things every living trust should have.
- A Comprehensive List of Assets – You’ll want to start by having a comprehensive list of all your assets. This list can include anything from physical items such as cars, jewelry, antiques, expensive equipment, etc. to less tangible assets like bonds, stocks, and any life insurance policies. While you don’t have to include literally every single item in your estate, anything that comes with considerable monetary or even sentimental value should be included.
- Have All Your Assets’ Paperwork Ready – Paired with your inventory list, you’ll also want to have all your assets’ paperwork handy. Having all this information ready will make the process easier–especially when coordinating with your attorney. Some examples might include:
- Life insurance policies
- Stock certificates
- Name Beneficiaries – Beneficiaries are people who will receive your assets after you pass away. As you’re writing your living trust you’ll want to have some beneficiaries in mind. Although we tend to think of family members as being beneficiaries, beneficiaries can also include friends as well. You can also donate your assets to certain organizations like charities. It’s important to discuss this step with your attorney, especially if there are people in your life who might be bitter if they’re not named a beneficiary.
- Name a Successor Trustee – With a living trust, you’ll name yourself the trustee. Doing so will allow you to retain control over your assets while you’re alive. However, you’ll want a successor trustee who will be responsible for crucial duties following your death.
These duties include:
- Paying your debts
- Distributing your assets
- Handling your affairs if you become incapacitated
You’ll want to make sure you name a successor trustee that you can trust. You’ll want someone who’s responsible. Sometimes this might be a beneficiary. Other times it can also be a neutral third party.
Consider Hiring a Lawyer
Lastly, you’ll want to consider hiring a lawyer both for drafting your living trust and ensuring your wishes are followed after your death. A lawyer will help ensure your trust contains every vital detail you need. Your lawyer can also help you avoid unnecessary taxes, help implement complicated conditions pertaining to how your assets are divided, and even offer forms of mediation if any disputes arise.