When people think about planning for their future, they very often delay taking the actions necessary to see that their assets and property are sufficiently protected. We understand planning for your future can be scary. You may not want to talk or think about what will happen after you die, and we understand that. Even if you have trepidations about preparing an estate plan or figuring out what you want to have happen with your estate after your death, it is important you do not delay in seeking legal counsel. Any delay could result in your family having to go through the costly, time-consuming probate process and potentially only receiving a small portion of the estate you originally intended they receive.
Our estate planning lawyers will be sensitive to your needs and compassionate to your situation. Our goal to help guide you through the estate planning process as smoothly as possible, and without unnecessary delay. With our assistance, you will be able to have peace of mind in knowing your assets will be protected for the benefit of you and your loved ones in the future. As a living trust is one of the most essential parts of any estate plan, we wanted to provide you with answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about living trusts.
What is a living trust?
A living trust is a legal trust arrangement made by a person while he or she is alive. A living trust allows one or more people to manage and take care of property for another person's benefit. If you create a living trust, all of your property can be transferred into so that you (as the trustee) can maintain control of the property until you are no able to do so. Once you become mentally incapacitated, or after you die, the property in the trust will be transferred to your beneficiaries according to your wishes.
Can I avoid probate by preparing a living trust?
The law does not require property in a living trust to go through probate. The individual you appoint as successor trustee will have the responsibility of transferring ownership to the beneficiaries you named in your living trust. The entire transfer process generally takes only a few short weeks, so your beneficiaries will have access to your estate much faster than if it had to go through probate. There are also no lawyer or court fees associated with this type of trust.
Can estate taxes be avoided with a living trust?
If your estate is valued at less than $5 million dollars, a living trust can help you avoid having to pay federal estate taxes. State estate taxes are not affected by a living trust.
If I have a living trust, do I still need to prepare a will?
Preparing a will is way of protecting assets and property that you were unable to transfer to your living trust or protect through the use of any other probate avoidance strategy. Neglecting to prepare a will could result in property being awarded in probate to your next of kin. If you have specific family members and loved ones you want to receive certain property, you are going to have to make your intentions clear not only in your living trust, but in your will as well.
Flatiron Legal Advisors, LLC has helped countless individuals address their estate planning needs and make it so they are no longer worried about whether their estate will be distributed as they wish. Why leave the future up to chance? If you want to find out more about living trusts, assistance is only a phone call away.
Call a Boulder estate planning lawyer today! We will be happy to review the current status of your estate and discuss your legal options.