Creating a living trust can be a smart estate planning move for those who want to ensure their assets are managed and distributed according to their wishes. A living trust allows you to transfer assets into a trust during your lifetime, which will be managed by a trustee of your choosing.
To create a living trust, follow these simple steps:
- Determine your goals: Before creating a living trust, it’s important to determine your goals for the trust. What assets do you want to transfer into the trust? Who do you want to manage the trust? Who do you want to inherit your assets after you pass away? Answering these questions will help you determine the terms of the trust.
- Choose a trustee: The trustee is responsible for managing the trust and distributing assets according to your wishes. You can choose a family member, friend, or professional trustee such as a trust company. It’s important to choose someone you trust and who has the skills necessary to manage the trust.
- Draft the trust document: You can draft a living trust document yourself using online resources or hire an attorney to do it for you. The trust document should include the terms of the trust, the trustee’s duties, and instructions for distributing assets after you pass away.
- Transfer assets into the trust: Once the trust document is complete, you’ll need to transfer assets into the trust. This may include real estate, bank accounts, and investments. It’s important to work with an attorney to ensure the transfer is done correctly.
- Update beneficiaries: After assets have been transferred into the trust, it’s important to update beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement accounts. This will ensure these assets are also distributed according to your wishes.
Stone & Sallus, a law firm specializing in estate planning, recommends creating a living trust as part of a comprehensive estate plan. A living trust can help you avoid probate, maintain privacy, and ensure your assets are managed and distributed according to your wishes. Working with an experienced attorney can help you create a living trust that meets your specific needs and goals.