and Your Family
Queens Living Trust
Like a will, a living trust is an estate planning tool that allows you to transfer your property to another person. However, unlike a will, property that you place in the trust is not subject to probate. Thus, there are advantages that a living trust offers that a will does not. To learn more about the part a living trust could play in your overall estate plan, contact an experienced Queens living trust lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.Creating a living trust
A living trust involves 3 main parties: the creator, the trustee, and the beneficiaries. As the person who creates the trust, you would be the creator or trustor. The trustee is the person responsible for the everyday management of the trust. The trustee must manage the trust according to the terms of the trust agreement. You may serve as the trustee, or you may appoint another person to fill that role. You can also name one or more successor trustees who would fill the role in the event of the death or incapacity of the original trustee. The beneficiaries are the individuals who benefit from the trust. The trustee must manage the trust assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries. While the trustee is the legal owner of the assets in the trust, the beneficiaries are the beneficial owners.
In order for a living trust to be effective, you must fund it. Funding it involves transferring title of your assets to the trust. A trust can be funded with a variety of types of property including real estate, cash, securities, personal property, and vehicles. While you can provide for distributing of trust assets during your lifetime, you can also require that the trustee distribute trust assets to the beneficiaries after your death.Avoiding probate
As a Queens living trust lawyer will explain, one of the advantages of a trust over a will, is that when properly structured and funded, a living trust can be used to avoid probate. Probate is the legal process that occurs when someone passes away. It involves the executor or estate administrator settling the decedent’s estate and distributing the decedent’s assets according to the terms of the will. Probate takes at least 7 months and often longer. If the decedent passed away without a will, the decedent’s estate is subject to a similar process called estate administration. The decedent’s assets cannot be distributed until the end of probate or estate administration. This means that beneficiaries often have to wait several months before they have access to their testamentary gifts. This can cause beneficiaries to suffer hardship.
On the other hand, assets that have been transferred to a living trust prior to the death of the person who created the trust are not subject to probate. Such assets can be distributed right away based on the terms of the trust agreement. To learn more about the process for distributing assets from a trust, contact an experienced living trust attorney in Queens.Importance of a will
Just because you have a trust does not mean that you do not need a will. If the reason that you want a trust is to avoid probate, it is important to understand that a trust is effective for probate avoidance only to the extent that your probate assets have been transferred to the trust. Any assets that remain in your probate estate at the time of your death will be subject to estate administration regardless of whether or not you have a will. If you do not have a will and there is property left in your estate, then it will be distributed to your heirs based on the rules of intestate succession. If you have a will, then that property will go to the beneficiaries that you select such as close relatives, close friends, or charities that you care about. In the absence of a will, the property will go to your legal heirs who may not necessarily be close to you.Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates
A living trust can be an important tool to ensure that your wealth is transferred to the beneficiaries of your choosing in a timely fashion. However, it must be drafted and executed in a manner that is consistent with New York law by an experienced living trust attorney serving Queens. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have years of experience working closely with clients to establish trusts, create wills, and create other documents as a part of a comprehensive estate plan. Contact us at 800-696-9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Queens, Long Island, Nassau County, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, and Westchester County.