and Your Family
Long Island Revocable Trust
In addition to a will, a revocable trust is a very common type estate planning document. A trust is a legal arrangement between a grantor, the trustee, and the beneficiaries. The grantor is the person who creates the trust—that would be you. The trustee is the person who manages the trustee. You would also be trustee. However, you would name successor trustees to take over the responsibility of managing the trust once you pass away. The beneficiaries are the people who benefit from the trust either during your life or after your death. There are two main types of trusts: testamentary trusts and living trusts. A testamentary trust is created in a will, does not exist during your life, and requires a probate proceeding for funding. On the other hand, you create a living trust during your lifetime, you funding it during your lifetime, and a living trust avoids probate. If you have questions about how a trust can benefit your estate, discuss your concerns with an experienced Long Island revocable trust lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.Revocable vs. irrevocable living trusts
A living trust can be revocable or irrevocable. A revocable living trust is a trust that you as the grantor can change or cancel during your lifetime. There are a variety of reasons that you might need to change your revocable trust such as changes to your financial situation or changes in your family. For example, you may need to revisit the terms of your trust if you get married, if you get divorced, if children or grandchildren are born, if there is a death in the family, or if a family member suffers a serious accident or illness that leaves him or her disabled. Once you pass away, your revocable trust becomes irrevocable. No one can change it, not even your executor.
An irrevocable trust, on the other hand, cannot be revoked, amended, or altered. Irrevocable trusts are commonly used to protect assets from creditors. Revocable trusts do not provide the same type of asset protection as irrevocable trusts. To learn more about the differences between revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts, contact an experienced Long Island revocable trust lawyer.Funding your revocable trust
An unfunded trust does not do anything. You, your estate, and your beneficiaries will not gain any benefit from a revocable trust that is not funded. Funding a trust is the process of moving your assets to the trust. To fund a trust you are taking your assets and putting them in the name of the trust. You can transfer practically any property that you own such as personal property, bank accounts, and real estate. For example, to transfer real estate to your trust you need to transfer the deed to the name of the trust. However, because transferring property to a trust can be complicated, and there may be reasons that certain types of property should not be transferred to a revocable trust, discuss the transfer of assets with a skilled revocable trust lawyer in Long Island.Benefits of a revocable living trust
Probate avoidance. One benefit of a revocable living trust is to avoid probate. Unlike assets that are in disposed of in a will, assets that you transfer to a living trust during your lifetime are not subject to probate. This is a significant benefit as probate will take at least 7 months and there are fees and expenses associated with probate. Property that is in a living trust is not subject to probate delays, allowing the beneficiaries to have access to trust assets relatively quickly. Plus the assets in the trust will not be diminished by the court fees, executor fees, and other fees and expenses that associated with probate. However, if the trust is a testamentary trust, then it does not avoid probate.
Private. Because revocable living trusts are not subject to probate, the terms of the trust can remain private among family members. On the other hand, a will is subject to probate. Because probate is as court proceeding, the will becomes part of the public record which anyone can access.Revocable trust vs will
Similar to a will, a revocable trust is a tool that can be used to transfer your wealth to your loved ones. In addition, a trust offers benefits such as privacy and probate avoidance that a will does not offer. However, just because you create a trust and transfer your property to it does not mean that you should not also have a will.
A will provides a safety net that a trust cannot provide. In all likelihood there will be some property in your estate that you did not transfer to your trust. In the absence of a will, any such property will be subject to intestate succession. This means, that without a will state how to dispose of any property that is in your estate, the property will go to your legal heirs based on the rules of intestate succession. This means that you give up the control over who gets that property. With a will, you can be very specific about who gets any property that is not in your trust, but remains in our probate estate.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
Trusts are complicated. To make sure you realize the benefits of having a revocable trust, you must properly fund it. To ensure that your trust is properly created and properly funded, contact the experienced revocable trust attorneys serving Long Island at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates. We have decades of experience creating living trusts, wills, and other estate documents that are customized to meet the specific needs of our clients. Contact us at 800-696-9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Long Island, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Nassau County, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.