A living trust is a legal document created by an experienced trust attorney which can be extremely effective as an estate planning tool when teamed with a pour-over will that puts your assets into the trust. For anyone with accumulated assets, a living or inter vivos trust can do a terrific job keeping your financial affairs private while efficiently transferring assets after your death.
As The (Decatur, IL) Herald & Review’s recent article titled “The Living Trust: Your plan for your assets with the flexibility to change” notes, a will goes into effect only after a person’s death but a living trust can protect your interests if you become mentally or physically incapacitated. This trust directs how to manage your finances and provide for your needs. It also gives you considerable control, because when you act as trustee of your own revocable living trust, you’re free to buy and sell assets, amend the trust, and even cancel it at any time.
A common issue for those who establish a living trust is that they fail to fund it. This means you must move or re-title your assets like your home, property, or investment accounts into ownership by the trust.
If you establish a living trust, consider designating a co-trustee or successor trustee. While a relative or friend is often appointed to serve in this capacity, you can also opt for a corporate or institutional trustee, like a trust department at a bank. The experience and objectivity of a corporate fiduciary can make this choice attractive.
A revocable living trust is a very effective planning tool. Your estate planning attorney can tailor one to fit your particular situation.
Reference: The (Decatur, IL) Herald & Review (October 17, 2016) “The Living Trust: Your plan for your assets with the flexibility to change”