A Living Trust is a non-public, legal document that families utilize to help protect their assets from probate in most states. This important document helps ensure their assets pass from one generation to the next without the challenges of having to use the court system. The Living trust will also name the beneficiaries of the estate and may even predetermine when any beneficiary is to receive an inheritance after the passing of the original Trustees. The document will name initial Trustees and Successor Trustees in order to help manage the survivor’s estate. The document will also have powers of attorney for asset administration and medical directives should any of the owners of the Living Trust become incapacitated and unable to make their own financial or medical decisions. For client’s that have children that are minors, the document will name Guardians for their children should the parents pass away prior to their children turning 18 years old. For larger estates, and the affluent, a Living Trust can also help reduce or eliminate estate taxes in some instances. Finally, a pour-over will be included to help capture any nonqualified asset that was not re-titled into the name of the Trust.
There are many varieties of trusts both living and testamentary (trusts which are created upon death) that are useful for maximizing control over assets after passing. To ensure your intentions outlive you, consult an estate attorney for comprehensive legal advice in conjunction with your Trilogy Advisor’s consultation on how your estate plan effects your financial plan.