Over the last three decades, the popularity of Living Trusts has skyrocketed. No longer a tool just for the wealthy, Living Trusts are one of the most common estate planning tools in use today. Almost anyone with an estate of $100,000 or more can benefit from having a living trust. Estates of $100,000 or more are often subjected to probate in their state of residence, which can cost anywhere from 2%-4% of the estate’s value in court and legal fees.
This legal arrangement, usually drafted by an estate attorney, creates a separate entity called a Living Trust. A Living Trust is called that simply because it is created while you’re alive (as opposed to a “testamentary” trust created after death). The living trust also is useful for individuals subject to estate taxes. Through a living trust, a couple is able to maximize their Unified Credit to its fullest. It even accomplishes protection for individuals wanting to avoid conservatorship.
Advanced living trusts can be structured for complicated family situations. Remarried spouses, with children from a previous marriage, can use an advanced revocable trust to ensure kids receive their proper inheritance. Once established, almost anything can be placed in a trust: bank accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate, life insurance, and personal property. In “funding” the trust, you simply change the name or title on your assets to the name of your Trust. Many people worry about losing control of assets; however, that is not the case within a carefully constructed Living Trust.
They afford an extra measure of protection against loss of control, and ensure that your assets remain out of the public record even after your death. Some trust can even help to provide protection against issues related to creditors or divorce.
Trusts can be as complex or as simple as the grantor would like. In some cases using the professional help of an independent trust company may be your best option. A trust company can make a lot of sense when a family member isn’t the right choice. They can help with trustee duties, provide the benefit of an objective third party, work and even add oversight with your advisor(s) and provide an impartial trustee when dealing with delicate family issues.
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LPL Financial Representatives offer access to Trust Services through The Private Trust Company N.A., an affiliate of LPL Financial.