Trusts are a way of transferring ownership of property from one person (called the “grantor”) to another person (the “trustee”). The trustee then controls that property for the benefit of other people, sometimes called the “beneficiaries.” This may happen during your lifetime or after your death.
They can also be used to avoid probate, which can take months and cost money in court fees and other expenses. In addition, some types of trusts can help you lower your estate taxes.
You can put anything into a trust, including your bank account or investment accounts, stocks, bonds, real estate, life insurance policies, vehicles, furniture, artwork, jewelry and writings. You can even name a trust as the beneficiary on your retirement account.
There are a few things you should know about trusts before you set up one. First, determine whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable.
A revocable trust allows you to change the beneficiaries and assets during your lifetime and make provisions for a successor trustee. However, it usually is subject to estate taxes and may not provide protection from creditors. An irrevocable trust, on the other hand, will not be subject to estate taxes and is usually protected from creditor claims.
When you create a trust, you specify the terms of how the trust will be administered and who will receive the principal or income in the future. The trustee then distributes the funds in the trust as outlined in the trust document.
The trustee is responsible for maintaining accurate records of the trust’s assets and distributions. These records should include the value of the trust’s assets at all times, the names and dates of all beneficiaries, and a detailed description of each asset.
If you transfer assets to the trust from different financial institutions, you will need to keep separate records at each institution. These records are important if you want to prove the value of the transfer.
Once you transfer your assets to the trust, the next step is to retitle those assets in the name of the trust. There is a lot of paperwork involved in this process, and the fee for retitling property can vary depending on your circumstances.
It’s a good idea to consult with an attorney before retitling all of your assets. They can help you understand the complexities of a revocable or irrevocable trust, and how to properly title all of your assets in the trust’s name.
Using a trust can help you control your wealth, protect your family from creditors and ensure that your legacy is passed on to the people you love most. It’s also a good way to avoid the probate process and save time, fees and potentially reduce estate taxes.
The most important thing is to consider the needs of your family and what your goals are for establishing a trust. Once you do, you can find a lawyer who specializes in creating trusts and can help you achieve your goals.