Before you decide that you should use a last will as your estate planning vehicle of asset transfer, you should carefully evaluate the benefits that you would gain if you utilize a living trust instead.
The first thing to understand about a living trust is the fact that it is revocable. You do not have to worry about losing access to the resources if you need to take them back, because you can revoke the trust entirely at any time. Plus, you can act as the trustee and the beneficiary. As a result, you can take assets out of the trust without dissolving it.
Beyond this retention of control, another advantage is the ability to leave behind instructions with regard to the way that you want the assets to be distributed to the beneficiaries who succeed you after your passing. In the trust declaration, you name a successor trustee, and this individual or entity would administer your trust after you are gone.
You may not want to instruct the trustee to exhaust all of the assets in the trust right away by distributing them in their entirety. Perhaps you have concerns about spendthrift family members burning through their inheritances too quickly. If you feel this way, you could allow for measured, ongoing distributions on an incremental basis over an extended period of time.
Another benefit is the fact that you can empower the successor trustee to handle the business of the trust in the event of your incapacitation. Unfortunately, many elders do become unable to handle their own finances at some point in time, with Alzheimer’s disease being a leading cause.
Funding a Living Trust
Now that we have provided the necessary background information, we can look at the matter of funding a trust. To transfer assets into a living trust, you change the ownership registration on the deed or title of property that you want to put into the trust. You make the trust the owner of the property, but as we have stated previously, you will be the trustee, so you would actually continue to control the property.
You would then list the property in the trust declaration, or you could itemize the property on a separate document that is called a schedule. We should point out the fact that you can transfer property into the trust even after you originally establish it.
Schedule a Consultation
Our firm can help if you are interested in the possibility of establishing a revocable living trust. We can answer all of your questions, get to know you, and help you take action if you decide to proceed.
You can simply send us a brief message through the following page if you would like to schedule a consultation: Warren NJ Estate Planning Attorneys.