Living Trusts

Generally superior to a will for transferring assets to heirs at death. Trusts avoid probate court proceedings needed to settle a will and often save the family time and expense in closing the estate. Together with the power of attorney, the living trust also helps avoid a court taking over control of your assets if you become disabled.

Credit Shelter Trusts: Used by couples whose estates are over one million dollars (including your life insurance) to save tens of thousands of dollars in estate taxes by creating an estate for each spouse, allowing a couple to pass up to two million dollars estate tax free instead of only one million.

What a Living Trust Can Do For You

  • It Eliminates Guardianship Proceedings.
  • If you become disabled or are unable to manage your estate, your living trust avoids the need for a court mandated guardianship for the trust assets. The successor trustee you’ve named will step in and manage your affairs without government interference and expense.
  • It Avoids Probate.
  • With a living trust your assets will go directly to your beneficiaries after your death. There will be no probate attorney’s fees or court costs. There will be no court delay in distributing your assets, and all your estate planning wishes will be completely private.
  • It Can Reduce or Eliminate State Estate Taxes.
  • With living trusts, a married couple can pass $2,000,000 absolutely state and federal estate tax free to their heirs. A single person can pass $1,000,000 State estate tax free.
  • It Can Protect Children from Earlier Marriages.
  • Both the surviving spouse and the children from a previous marriage can receive fair treatment and protection under the terms of your living trust.
  • It Can Insure That Your Wishes Are Carried Out and Are Not Subject To Attack.
  • It is generally accepted that living trusts are more difficult to contest than wills. This prevents disgruntled heirs from successfully attacking your estate plan.
  • It Allows You to Restrict How Your Estate is Managed and Spent Even After Your Death.
  • Public building, public works and related contracts.
  • It can provide for the care, support and education of your children or grandchildren by turning over assets to them at an age chosen by you. Even insurance proceeds can be paid to the trust so your successor trustee can manage them for the benefit of your family.
  • It Gives You Peace of Mind.
  • When your living trust is completed, you and your family will relax knowing that your estate will be managed and distributed by someone you have selected and trust.
  • Living trusts are just one component of an Elder Law Estate Plan.

What You Need To Know About Estate and Elder Planning