Estate planning is about much more than just having a will. A number of other legal structures and tools can be used to help you protect your legacy—and one of the most common is the living trust. While certainly not the be-all-and-end-all of estate planning, a living trust can help cover some of the basics.
Before you establish a living trust, however, it’s important to know what this important trust does—and what it doesn’t do. Don’t hesitate to ask your estate planning attorney for help with understanding living trusts. We’ll offer a few quick bullet points to help guide your conversation, including some brief points such as guidelines for trustees, powers of attorney, and more.
One of the first things you should ask about is which assets are covered by the living trust. Note that the particulars may change as the trust matures, either because you gain or lose particular assets or because state and federal laws change.
Still, you should always know how your living trust can be used, and which assets it can cover; and, you should be prepared to update your trust as needed, regularly reviewing it with your attorney.
If you’re new to estate planning, of course, you may wish to start with something even more basic—like why you might want a living trust in the first place. Ask your estate planning lawyer to elaborate both the positives and negatives of living trusts. And, ask why a living trust does or doesn’t make sense for your particular estate planning needs.
Along the same lines, it’s important to clarify the role played by each estate planning document. For example, don’t hesitate to ask your estate planning lawyer about the distinction between living wills vs. living trusts. You may only wish to use one of these estate planning tools, or you may want to use both in tandem—but either way, it’s helpful to have some sense of what they do and how they differ.
When setting up any kind of a trust—even a gift trust—it’s vital to select someone who can serve as the trustee. What does the trustee do, though? What’s the job description? And what are the considerations you should make as you seek the best trustee? Your attorney can help guide you through the trustee selection process.
One more thing you’ll want to ask about is the financial power of attorney. Do you really need one, if you have a trust in place? Some attorneys will recommend that you have both; others may disagree, but it really comes down to your particular needs and goals. The question of whether you need a financial power of attorney is ultimately something to handle on a case-by-case basis, and it’s definitely worth discussing with your lawyer.
Clear communication with your estate planning lawyer is crucial. In fact, it’s important to note that this is your life, your estate, and your legacy on the line—so don’t be shy about asking anything you want to ask in order to understand things better.
Of course, it’s also important to have an estate planning attorney who is knowledgeable and eager to serve. At Singh Law Firm, we take pride in talking with clients and helping them understand living trusts, gift trusts, and other key issues fully.
Feel confident in your estate planning. Talk to us at Singh Law Firm today.