A lot of people do not consider the possibility of using a trust because they make assumptions about the complexity level. In this post, we will share some basic information about living trust administration to demystify the process so you can make informed decisions.
Ongoing Control While You Are Living
One commonly held misconception about trusts is the idea that you surrender control of assets that you convey into a trust. There are irrevocable trusts, and though there are limited exceptions, this type of trust cannot be changed or revoked.
On the other hand, there is the revocable living trust which is in a different class. If you establish this type of trust, you would retain the right of revocation, and you would act as the trustee throughout your life.
The trust would technically be the owner of the assets, but you would have total access to all the resources in the trust each and every step of the way. You can change the terms at any time, and you can convey additional property into the trust after it has been created.
Alzheimer’s disease strikes over 30 percent of the oldest old, and there are other causes of incapacity. With this in mind, you can name a disability trustee when you have a living trust, and they would assume the role if you became unable to administer the trust on your own.
When you establish the trust, you name a successor trustee to act as the administrator after you are gone. You can use a trust company or another professional fiduciary, and you can alternately engage a family member or someone else that you know to perform the duties.
The best choice will in large part depend on the way you structure the trust. One advantage of a living trust over a will is the ability to provide long-term spendthrift protections. You can include a spendthrift provision, and the trust would become irrevocable after your passing.
Beneficiaries of the trust would not be able to directly access the principal, and their creditors would “step into their shoes,” so the assets would also be protected from creditors.
Let’s say that you have income-producing assets in the trust, and you want the trustee to provide distributions of the earnings to the beneficiaries. You want them to receive a certain amount each month until they reach certain age thresholds, and portions of the principal could be added.
Under these circumstances, the trustee should be a competent financial manager, and they will be making a long-term commitment. This is the type of situation that could call for the utilization of a professional fiduciary.
On the other hand, if you want all the assets to be distributed to the beneficiaries as soon as possible after your death, the situation would be rather simple and straightforward. A high level of financial expertise would not necessarily be required.
To account for assets that you never conveyed into the trust, you could include a pour-over will that will facilitate the transfer of the assets into the trust.
If you work with our firm to create a living trust, we can provide turnkey assistance. After your passing, your family and/or your estate administrator can contact us, and we will provide any legal assistance that may be necessary during the trust administration process.
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The sessions cover the most important estate planning and elder care topics, and there is no admission fee. We do ask that you register in advance so we can reserve your spot, and you can see the dates obtain more information if you visit our seminar page.
Need Help Now?
We are here to help if you have already decided that you are ready to work with a Glastonbury, CT estate planning attorney to put a plan in place. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 860-548-1000.
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