Discover The Benefits Of A Living Trust
A will declares your intentions for distributing your assets, but a living trust takes it a step further. Done properly, this estate planning tool avoids the hassle and costs of probate, reduces taxes for your heirs as well as providing them with creditor protection, assures privacy and provides for your own care if you become disabled.
The lawyers at Livens & Reed, PLLC, in Bedford, Texas, extend full-service estate planning, tax planning, nursing home planning and wealth preservation strategies to clients in Dallas County and Tarrant County, the DFW Metroplex and statewide. Contact us today for an in-depth but plain English discussion of living trusts or any estate-related matters.
What Is A Living Trust?
When you die, your estate passes to the people named in your will after a long trip through probate court. A trust allows for you to transfer assets outside of the probated estate in the event of death. The assets in the trust are then held for the benefit of beneficiaries. Legally speaking, these individuals are then not the owners of the assets.
The benefit of a revocable living trust is that it provides you control over your estate while you are alive. You can access the trust assets, alter the assets and change the names of beneficiaries. A revocable living trust also allows for more specificity than a will when it comes to inheritance and distribution of the trust assets.
Control What Happens To Your Estate
A living trust can provide a number of benefits, including:
- Avoidance of probate — We understand that the probate process is lengthy and expensive. Besides often taking months to resolve and consuming a large percentage of the assets, it also becomes a matter of public record. Trust administration, on the other hand, can provide an efficient, cost-effective and private alternative to probate.
- Reduction of estate taxes — The law allows for your spouse to be exempt from estate taxes up to the marital exclusion amount. In the event your spouse dies, your children will then become beneficiaries for the remaining assets in the trust. A living trust can thus minimize or even eliminate estate taxes.
- Health care — In a living trust, you can create instructions on steps to take in the event of your incapacity or inability to handle your own affairs. This allows for you to specify that the trust pays for home nursing or assisted care prior to nursing home becoming necessary.
- Protection from creditors — Because assets are not directly transferred to your beneficiaries, this can protect your assets from creditors. It can also protect assets from being reached by others in the event of a divorce.
The primary reason living trusts fail is because of a lack of funding. This means designation of the trust as owner or beneficiary of specific assets. If these assets are not properly funded, these will instead become probate assets that can possibly be pursued by tax officials and creditors. We make ourselves available to everyone we represent in helping them understand such issues.
Our attorneys and staff will tailor your trust in accordance with your “big-picture” desires. We are familiar with many variations on living trusts and the applicable state and federal tax laws. Call us at 800-569-2663 to arrange a free initial consultation.