Connecticut Living Trusts Attorneys
As you age and begin to think about what will become of your assets and property when you are no longer here, and how your loved ones that survive you will be provided for, the idea of a living trust may cross your mind. Living trusts can be a wise addition to an estate plan, helping you to mitigate certain taxes and provide for beneficiaries simultaneously. For legal advice that you can count on to be accurate and informative, consult with the experienced Connecticut trust attorneys at The Upton Law Firm, LLC.
What Is a Living Trust?
A living trust assigns your assets into a legal forum in order to be transferred to beneficiaries upon your death. A trust isn’t a physical or tangible item. Instead, it is essentially a legal agreement between three parties:
- The person who makes the trust, called the trustmaker or grantor;
- The person who is responsible for managing property and assets held in the trust, and distributing them to beneficiaries per the trustmaker’s instructions, called the trustee; and
- The beneficiary, or beneficiaries, who is the person(s) to whom assets and property are allocated.
The thing that makes a living trust “living” is that it goes into effect during the lifetime of the trustmaker, rather than upon the trustmaker’s death. Also called an inter vivos trust, living trusts can be valid and applicable even before the trustmaker is no longer around.
A living trust may also be revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust is a living trust that can be changed by the trustmaker at any time throughout their lifetime; in an irrevocable trust, once property is placed in the trust, the property no longer belongs to the trustmaker. What’s more, an irrevocable living trust and its terms cannot be modified once created.
Pros of Creating a Living Trust
There are a number of benefits (as well as some disadvantages) to creating a trust. Some of the biggest benefits of a living trust include:
- Assets held in a trust avoid probate. If how your property is to be distributed is only addressed by means of a will, know that your will–or rather, all of the property that is addressed in the will–is subject to probate. Probate is the process by which your assets are counted and a judge determines whether or not your will is valid and distribution of assets occurs. Assets held in a living trust, however, avoid probate. This can be a boon to beneficiaries, who will not be forced to go through the lengthy and expensive probate process. This can be especially true for those who own property in multiple states, as going through probate in multiple jurisdictions can be a headache.
- Mitigating certain taxes. In addition to avoiding probate, the creation of a living trust may also be used to avoid certain taxes, including estate taxes and inheritance taxes. Keep in mind, however, that a living trust does not have advantages as they pertain to income tax.
- Keeping affairs private. Another benefit of placing assets in a living trust is that when assets are distributed to beneficiaries, the distribution will be completely private. What happens during the process of intestate succession–the laws that govern the distribution of an estate when there is no estate plan in place–is public record.
- Providing for loved ones in a manner consistent with your wishes. One of the biggest benefits of creating a living trust is that the creation of a living trust allows you to provide for your loved ones and beneficiaries in a manner that you choose. When you do not have a living trust or other estate planning documents, such as a will, in place, your estate is subject to the laws of intestacy, and will be divided as the law specifies, which may not necessarily be what you want.
Do I Need a Living Trust and Other Estate Planning Documents?
It is highly recommended that a living trust is a part of your estate plan, but is not the only document and financial arrangement that you create. This is because a living trust can only be used to address certain assets and issues, and all assets that are not placed in a living trust will be subject to state law if not addressed by another estate document, such as a will. Further, a will can do many things that a trust cannot do, such as name a guardian for a minor child.
How to Create a Living Trust
The good news is that if you are thinking about creating a living trust in order to hold your assets and property, the process is relatively easy. It is strongly recommended that you hire a lawyer before creating a living trust in Connecticut, as an attorney can not only provide you with recommendations that are designed to protect your finances and your beneficiaries, but can also assist you in drafting a document that is both legally valid and within your best interests. Once you hire an attorney, you and your lawyer will work together to prepare the trust document, determine what assets will be held in the trust, and transfer ownership of assets from yourself to the trust. You will also need to assign a trustee.
Why You Should Work with an Experienced Trust Attorney at The Upton Law Firm, LLC
When you hire our Connecticut trust attorneys at The Upton Law Firm, LLC for legal representation during the formation of your living trust, you are choosing to work with a legal professional who is both knowledgeable and experienced. In addition to the formation of a living trust, we can also help you to create other estate planning documents, including wills, living wills, power of attorney documents, healthcare directives, and other trust types.
If you are thinking about your future, don’t hesitate to take action to learn more about how to best protect it and the future of your loved ones. Contact us today for a free, no obligation consultation.