Living Trusts have become popular today and most people are planning their assets when they are still alive. Assets included in the trust may include personal property, real estate, savings accounts, stocks and bonds. The person drawing the Living Trust will be in control of the estate when he/she is alive.
A Living Trust drafted well, will protect your property when you are alive and when you die. This will ensure that your spouse and your children's interests are protected. Your assets will be transferred to your beneficiaries according to your wishes. The beneficiaries may include other relatives. Property can be transferred to a living trust for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries. The owner of the property who creates the trust is known as the Grantor or Trustor. The person named by the trust with the responsibility of managing and transferring the property to the beneficiaries is known as the trustee. The grantor will continue to use the property until he becomes incapacitated or dies. During the time he is alive he may appoint himself or another party as the trustee.
When another party is appointed as the trustee or as a successor trustee, if he has appointed himself as the trustee, the appointed person will ensure that the property is distributed as stated in the terms of the trust agreement. This can be a written agreement or a declaration. The owner will control the assets when he is alive and when he dies the assets will be transferred as stipulated in the trust by the trustee. Most people appoint their attorneys, banks or trust companies as their trustees. The trust will manage the property helping it grow. Unlike a Will, there is no probate period with a Living Trust. Distribution and transfer of assets is therefore faster and less expensive than in a Will.
Most people transfer the property to a Living Trust to protect their loved ones who include the spouse and the children while others do it to benefit from tax advantages.
There are many different types of Trusts and it is important to identify which one you want. Simple Living Trusts can be drafted by the person using software at home or in the office. There are online sites which have lawyers who will review the information you provide and advice you which Living Trust will be best for you. The trust can also be drawn by a lawyer.
The person will need to consult the bank, insurance brokers, financial adviser, stock brokers, and the attorney. He/she will identify the properties to be included in the trust and the lawyer will draft the documents. The assets are then transferred by the grantor to the trust and the titles are changed to bear the name of the Living Trust. These are thereafter Trust Assets. The grantor can make any changes to the trust. There are assets which will also pass to the beneficiaries. These are life insurance, bank accounts and retirement benefits.