The estate planning process allows you to determine how your affairs will be handled after you die, or, in some cases, become medically incapacitated. That’s something that’s far too important to handle on a DIY basis. Generally speaking, it’s recommended that you hire an estate planning attorney to assist with these key preparations.
In particular, you may wish to hire a living trust lawyer. Living trusts can be invaluable components within any estate plan; and, due to their complexity, they most often require the guidance of a skilled wills and estates lawyer.
What is a Living Trust?
Before we get into the merits of hiring a living trust attorney, it may be helpful to clarify some terminology. What is a living trust, anyway?
Essentially, a living trust is an estate planning document that’s created within your lifetime, allowing you to move property from your estate into the trust fund, which is then managed by an appointed trustee. The property you move from your estate into the trust may include cash, real estate, bank accounts, vehicles, and beyond. The trustee is someone who serves as a legal representative of the trust, managing all of the assets contained therein on behalf of your designated beneficiary, who receives the assets upon your death. (You may also choose to name multiple beneficiaries for a single trust.)
Note, as you meet with a living trust attorney, that you can choose between a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust. With a revocable trust, you can change the terms of the trust without consent from the beneficiaries; an irrevocable trust will not allow you to do this. However, an irrevocable living trust offers other advantages, including asset protection and tax planning benefits. Your wills and estates lawyer can further explain the pros and cons of each type of trust.
Why Hire Living Trust and Will Lawyers?
A living trust can be a really useful part of your estate plan… but does that really mean you need to work with a team of living trust and will lawyers?
To be clear, you are not legally required to have a wills trusts and estates attorney help you draft and fund your living trust. It can be highly advantageous to do so, however… for a number of reasons:
- A living trust lawyer can outline all of your estate planning options. One of the main reasons to work with a law firm is that you can gain a fuller understanding of your options (e.g., revocable living trusts irrevocable living trusts). And, your lawyer can help you determine which type of estate planning document is most closely aligned with your personal goals.
- Your attorney can also help you put the right tax strategies in place. An advanced estate planning attorney will be able to advise you on how best to minimize your estate’s tax exposure.
- Your attorney can also advise you on finding the best trustee. You’ll need to find a reliable, qualified individual to help manage the assets in your trust. A lawyer can help you choose the right person for the job.
- Your attorney can walk you through the entire process. Drafting and funding a trust is quite a bit more complicated and labor-intensive than simply writing a last will and testament. And, even a single mistake can totally change the legal intent of your trust. It’s crucial to have an attorney to handle this important task.
Ready to learn more about living trusts, or to determine how a trust can impact your own estate planning? We’d love to chat with you further.
Contact the advanced estate planning attorneys at Singh Law Firm today.