A living trust is a popular estate planning tool a Clearwater trusts lawyer can create that can be useful during the lifetime of the person as well as make the distribution of assets after death less complicated and less expensive.
A Living Trust is Revocable
The person who creates the trust, called the settlor or grantor, creates the trust in their lifetime and can add to it, change it in any way or revoke it entirely in their lifetime.
A Clearwater trusts attorney can explain that a legal trust requires a grantor, at least one named beneficiary, a trustee and assets that are legally transferred to the trust. Most often, the grantor is also the original trustee and thus retains complete control over the management of the trust.
A well-crafted trust should contemplate the possibility that the grantor, or other named trustee, may become incapacitated. By naming a successor trustee who assumes trust management in the event the trustee can no longer handle trust management duties, the trust can continue to operate to pay bills and make investment decisions without the need for a court-ordered guardian.
Death of the Grantor
Typically, at the death of the grantor, the trust becomes irrevocable and the plan for distribution of the decedent’s assets is implemented. The primary exception is for a trust created for a married couple. In such a case, most commonly the surviving spouse becomes the sole trustee upon the death of the first, and the trust becomes irrevocable after the death of the survivor. In either case, a named successor trustee then manages the trust.
Living Trust Advantages
The primary advantage is the avoidance of probate for those assets that have been properly transferred to the trust. Title to those assets remains in the trust after the grantor’s death. Assets that are not in a trust need to go through probate to legally allow transfer of title from the name of the grantor to the name of the beneficiary. For large estates, there may also be a federal estate tax advantage where a married couple has a joint trust.
Contact a Clearwater Trusts Lawyer for Legal Advice
Learn whether a living trust provides an advantage over a standard will for your particular needs. Call the Coleman Law Firm at 727-461-7474.