New York Living Trust Lawyer
In general Estate Planning documents are bewildering to most people, until they need deal with their own estate plan, or perhaps are forced to handle a probate for a loved one. A common perception is that documents such as a Living Will, a Last Will and Testament, or Durable Power of Attorney cause us to look at our own mortality and plan for the inevitable. While this may be true, documents such as these are vitally important. A Living Trust is a legal arrangement where a person (called the Trustee) holds title to property for another (called the Beneficiary). The term “living” only refers to the fact that the Trust is created while you are alive, and can also be called an “Intervivos Trust.” The importance of having a Living Trust is discussed below. Be aware that Estate Planning documents are very important and can be quite technical depending on your unique set of circumstances. As such, it is wise to consult a New York Estate Lawyer to assist you in creating your Living Trust.
The biggest advantage to creating a Living Trust is that whatever property is placed into the Trust does not go through Probate at the time of your death. Probate is a court supervised process where your debts are paid and assets are distributed to heirs after your death. Probate can often take months and even years to complete, and is expensive. During the time your estate is in Probate there will be court costs and attorney’s fees to pay. This process is different however, if you have a Living Trust. After you pass away, a Successor Trustee whom you have previously appointed will distribute Trust property directly to the beneficiaries, with no court involvement or lawyer’s fees, and sometimes a substantial tax savings as well. Once all the property in the Trust has been distributed, the Trust automatically terminates. It is important to consult with a New York Living Trust Lawyer during this process as there are many pitfalls to be avoided, and to ensure that your rights and your wishes are respected.
Some people may be under the mistake impression that if you have a Living Trust in place, you do not need other Estate Planning documents such as a Will. This is not the case. While most individuals will put their assets in the Trust, the Will acts as a catch all for anything that was not, for whatever reason, put in the Trust. This is important, because if you do not put an asset in your Trust, and you do not have a Will, the asset will go to the nearest relative as dictated by state law, which may not be your preference. This legal principal is known as Intestate Succession.
Devising a plan to protect your assets and provide for your family after your passing is one of the most loving things you can do. Sadly, by the time a crisis comes, the opportunity to plan for the future is lost. Without appropriate Estate Planning documents in place, your hard earned assets could be left to heirs according the state guidelines, and not your own. Ensure that your loved ones are provided for and your wishes are honored by creating a Living Trust. The NY Probate Lawyers at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC are ready to lend you guidance during this process and will also provide you with a free consultation. We have offices throughout New York, including Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx as well as Nassau County and Suffolk County. Contact us today to set up your free appointment at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW.