Avoid Estate Proceedings By Placing Your Assets With a Trustee
Trusts are an effective solution to avoid an estate proceeding and could have potential tax benefits. The purpose of a trust is to hold assets as an entity controlled by a Trustee(s). Your Trustee is in charge of what happens to those assets. Since the trust’s assets are no longer owned by an individual, they are not subject to a small estate or a probate. The key to avoiding an estate proceeding is to make sure all of your assets are either in the name of the trust or they have a designated death beneficiary.
- TA Grantor(s) supplies the assets of the trust. A Trustee(s) is in charge of the assets provided by the Grantor. A trust defines the powers of its trustee and designates its purpose. Usually its purpose while you are still living is for your benefit to maintain your daily lifestyle. Trusts can also be created for the benefit of someone else.
- Following the death of its Grantor or Trustee, a Successor Trustee is put in charge of the trust. The Successor Trustee is obligated to harness all of the trust’s assets, satisfy all outstanding debts and tax matters for the decedent. A public notice of the death of the Grantors and the existence of the trust may be necessary. A waiting period is required before distribution to allow creditors to assert claims.
- Once those affairs have been settled and the time period has passed, the Successor Trustee will follow the terms of distribution and property will be assigned to the trust’s beneficiaries. If the beneficiaries wish to change the terms of distribution, a formal written agreement must be put in place and agreed upon by all parties.
In some cases, trusts can be subject to a court proceeding. This is in the event there is a disagreement on if the Trustee or Successor Trustee is properly executing their duties. The same is also true if there is a disagreement among its beneficiaries.
Joe is happy to help create a trust that will benefit your needs. If you have an existing trust, he can help make sure it is current and it still reflects your wishes. He can help a Successor Trustee navigate their responsibilities following the death of a Grantor or Trustee.