A living trust is essential to make sure that your wishes are carried out after you die. It can also keep your family out of probate court, ensure that your assets will be distributed quickly and efficiently and avoid unnecessary taxes. Before you sit down with your estate planning lawyers here are five things you should do:
Make a List of All of Your Assets
Make sure that you have a list of all the assets that you want to include in the trust. Tangible assets include your car, house, and jewelry. Intangible assets are things like bonds and life insurance policies and stocks. This is important to have once you start the planning process and will make it easier to decide how to distribute your assets.
Have all the Paperwork for Your Assets Ready
Make sure that you have all of the paperwork ready before your meeting. The paperwork can be titles, deeds, life insurance policies, stocks certificates.
Choose Who Will Be the Beneficiaries
You will need to decide who the beneficiaries of the trust will be. Take the time to decide who you will name before meeting with your estate planning lawyer so this meeting will be as efficient as possible. If there is anyone that you want to leave out of your trust be sure to discuss this with your attorney.
Choose Who Will Be Your Successor Trustee
When you create a living trust you will name yourself as the trustee. This allows you to have access to the trust over your lifetime. The Successor Trustee will be the person that takes over when you pass away. The successor trustee will pay your debts and distribute your assets according to your wishes as you’ve expressed them in your trust document. You will want to choose someone that you trust for this role. Also if there is a case where you are incapacitated your successor trustee would handle your affairs.
Choose Who Will Be the Guardian for Your Minor Children
When you create a living trust, it’s important that you also have a will. The will functions as a safety net in case an asset has been left out of your trust, but it is also where you name a guardian for your minor children. This is often a difficult decision that parents will want to discuss. It’s best to have those conversations before you go to the estate planning lawyer’s office so that you have agreed about the role and can communicate that to your attorney at the time of the meeting.
Now that you have an idea of how to get started on your estate planning it is time to bring in the attorneys to make the process go smoothly. At Smith Barid we are here to help create the plan that fits your needs the best. Give us a call today at 912.352.3999