An estate plan can be one or several documents that ensure that your affairs are in order at the end of your life and pass your Little Rock, AR estate on to your heirs. One important aspect of a comprehensive estate plan is a trust. You may set up one or several trusts while estate planning to protect your estate during your life and ensure that your beneficiaries gain the most benefits from your assets. For a trust to truly address your estate’s needs by being clear and legally enforceable, it’s necessary to work with an estate planning attorney.
The legal professionals with Kevin Lemley Law Partners can help you create a trust and estate plan that reflects the needs of you, your family, your beneficiaries, and your estate. A trust is not only helpful for those leaving behind significant or complex assets. There are benefits for those with any amount of assets, and we can help you determine what estate planning tools can most effectively protect your estate. Our attorneys have 50 years of combined experience, and we can help you navigate the creation of any type of trust that you need to establish.
A trust is a legal entity that keeps assets out of probate court after your death. When your estate is not in a trust, the assets become the property of the state, which then inventories, taxes, and distributes those assets through the public process of probate. This can take months to years, depending on the complex needs of your estate. When an estate is in probate court, your heirs cannot access its benefits.
By placing assets into a trust, you prevent them from entering probate. The creator of the trust is the trustor, and you can also name yourself the trustee. When you die, the successor trustee becomes the new trustee, and the assets are always under the ownership of the trust. The trustee can then inventory and distribute the assets in the trust.
There are many different forms of trusts, all of which are created depending on the trustor’s needs, including:
However, all these forms of trusts are one of two types of trusts. These are:
There are several benefits to creating a trust:
The cost of setting up a trust depends on several factors. Without legal counsel, it may cost several hundred dollars. However, because these services are not personalized, the trust may not cover a person’s unique needs and the needs of their estate or beneficiaries. In some cases, the trust may be unclear enough that it is not legally enforceable. Working with an estate planning attorney when creating and maintaining a trust may cost more, but you can feel more confident in the final result. Your trust can cover your unique estate requirements and ensure that your wishes are upheld.
Once you determine what type of trust you want to create, make a list of the assets that will be in the trust and the beneficiaries for those assets. Name yourself as the trustee and determine who you want to be the successor trustee. This person is in charge of the trust and the distribution of assets to beneficiaries after your death. You can choose a friend, family member, or trusted professional. Then, you can create and review the document and sign it according to the law. An estate planning attorney is a useful asset when outlining a trust and ensuring that it matches your wishes.
A trust is a legal entity which you can place assets from your estate into. Because the assets are under the ownership of the trust, they do not pass under state ownership after your death. Instead, they remain under the trust’s ownership and pass to the care of the successor trustee. A trust allows you to prevent the majority of your estate from entering probate court. Due to court costs and federal inheritance taxes, an estate that passes through probate will not provide as many financial benefits to your beneficiaries. Avoiding probate also saves your loved ones time and stress.
You can review an attorney’s reputation, successes, and testimonials. This can help you determine their level of professionalism with other clients and their legal cases. Looking at the state’s bar association to determine the licensure and registration of an attorney allows you to see their professional qualifications. Finally, you can schedule a consultation or interview with an attorney to determine if you feel comfortable with them. Estate planning and other legal issues can be complex and sensitive, and it’s important that you feel that you can trust an attorney with those matters.
If you are unsure what estate planning documents or trusts are useful to protect your estate, contact Kevin Lemley Law Partners.