Streamlined Estate Administration
When you have a living trust, you facilitate a straightforward and efficient administration process. You would act as the trustee while you are living, so you would have total access to the assets in the trust.
In the trust declaration, you would name a successor trustee to administer the trust after your passing. This can be someone you know personally that would have the appropriate longevity expectation, and you can alternately use a professional fiduciary.
The idea is to convey the assets that will comprise your estate into the trust, and this consolidation will be advantageous during the administration process. Plus, the inheritances would be distributed outside of the costly, time-consuming, and public process of probate.
Flexibility and Distribution Control
This type of trust is revocable, so you could rescind the trust at any time and take back direct personal possession of the property. As we have stated, you would be the trustee, so your control would be absolute every step of the way.
After the trust has been created and funded, you can convey additional property into it at any time. You can change the trustee and/or beneficiary designations, and you can alter the terms as you see fit.
When you have a living trust, you do not have to allow for lump-sum distributions to the beneficiaries after you are gone. You can instruct the trustee to distribute a certain amount each month until the beneficiaries reach certain age thresholds, or you can dictate a different type of arrangement.
You may acquire property along the way that you never conveyed into the trust for one reason or another. To account for this possibility, you should have a pour-over will to accompany the trust in your broader estate plan.
This type of will would facilitate the transfer of this property into the trust during the estate administration phase. The transfer would be subject to probate, but it would be a relatively simple and efficient process.
Another reason to have a will when you have a living trust is to account for guardianship of a minor or dependent adult. You cannot designate a guardian in a living trust, so you would include a will to name a guardian if you have a dependent or multiple dependents.
Another type of will that should be part of every estate plan is a living will. This document is used to record your preferences with regard to the use of life support measures like cardiopulmonary resuscitation, mechanical respiration, and artificial hydration and nutrition.
The living will can also address comfort care medication preferences and organ and tissue donation choices.
Learn More About Estate Planning
We always share fresh information on this blog, and there are other written materials that you can access on this website. One of them is our carefully prepared estate planning worksheet, and you can learn a lot if you take the time to go through it.
This is a free resource that gets high marks from people that have used it, and you can visit our worksheet page to get your copy.
Need Help Now?
At some point, you will learn enough to know that it is time to put an estate plan in place. If that time is now, we are here to help.
You can schedule a consultation appointment if you give us a call at (585) 546-1734, and there is a contact form on this site you can use if you would prefer to send us a message.