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Brooklyn Living Trusts

Like a will, a living trust is an estate planning document. Sometimes referred to as an "inter vivos" trust, a living trust is a tool that allows you to place assets into a trust during your lifetime and then transfer them to your beneficiaries of your choosing either while you are still living or upon your death. A trust is managed by a trustee who you name. In contrast, a will is a written legal document that sets forth details as to how you want your property distributed when you pass away. Your executor, as named in your will, is responsible for managing your estate until assets are distributed. A living trust is also different from a will in that a living trust avoids the time and expense of probate while a will must go through probate before assets can be distributed to beneficiaries. To learn more about the advantages of having a living trust in addition to a will, contact an experienced Brooklyn Living Trusts Lawyer who will review your family and financial details and let you know how to design an estate plan that meets your goals.

Revocable Living Trust vs. Irrevocable Living Trust

A living trust can be either revocable or irrevocable. With a revocable trust you as the creator of the trust reserves the right to change or revoke the trust at any time. On the other hand, an irrevocable trust cannot be changed or amended, even during your lifetime. Upon your death, a revocable trust becomes irrevocable.

Advantages of a Revocable Living Trust

Probate avoidance. One of the biggest advantages of setting up a revocable living trust is unlike a will a living trust avoids probate. Property that you transfer to a living trust during your lifetime is not part of your probate estate. Thus, the often long delay associated with probate will be avoided and your beneficiaries will receive the property that you left them a lot sooner. This may be a particularly attractive benefit if your beneficiaries include minors or a loved one with a disability. Furthermore, probate can be quite expensive. Fees and costs associated with probate include filing fees, court costs, appraisal and auction fees, will contests, estate litigation, and your executor's expenses.

Privacy. If you transfer your property to a living trust, upon your death details about the value of your estate and how it will be distributed can be kept private. Probate is public. Thus, when a will goes through probate anyone can get a copy and learn details about your estate.

Tax savings. A trust may allow you to save on federal estate tax, state inheritance tax, and state estate tax. These taxes are commonly collectively referred to as death taxes.

What type of assets can be used to fund a living trust?

Funding a living trust means transferring assets that you own to the trust. You as an individual will no longer own the assets. The assets will be owned by that trust for the benefit of the trust's beneficiaries. Upon your death, with a exceptions, assets that you own that have not been transferred to your trust will have to go through probate before they are distributed to your beneficiaries according to the terms of your will or intestate succession. If you do not fund your trust, the trust has little meaning.

A trust can be funded with a variety of property. One of the most common ways to fund a trust is with cash. Other property that can be transferred to a trust include real estate, stock, household furnishings, art, jewelry and other personal property. However, before any property is transferred to a living trust or any time of trust, an expert should be consulted to confirm that there will not be any negative financial consequences of such a transfer.

A living trust is an important and complex estate planning tool. In order for it to be effective, it must be created properly. To learn more about living trusts as well as will trusts, wills and other estate planning tools, contact the experienced attorneys at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC. We will help you develop an overall estate plan that reflects your individual goals. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your estate plan.

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