Many people want to know how to ensure their loved ones receive their inheritance when they pass away. Even though creating a will is perhaps the more well-known strategy, creating a trust can give your heirs more authority over your possessions and assets. For those in the Monroe, NC, area looking for a trust lawyer, look no further than Pinnacle Law.
Using a trust, a settlor, often referred to as a grantor, can transfer assets from their name into the ownership of a trust, which a trustee oversees in the interest of one or more beneficiaries. Trusts outline an official asset distribution plan in line with the grantor’s wishes. A revocable, living trust’s creator can serve as the trust’s trustee while still alive and then designate a successor trustee to take over in the event of their demise or incapacity. The property is no longer legally under the control of the settlor once it is in a trust.
A trust gives the grantor the freedom to divide and organize their assets in ways that a written will would not be able to. In contrast to wills, trusts are easier to modify to fit various situations and scenarios. Most crucially, trusts do not necessitate a drawn-out probate procedure after your passing. Trusts can therefore give you the freedom to secure your assets and property so that they can be distributed to your designated beneficiaries after your passing.
A trust can either be a testamentary trust or a living trust. A living trust is a trust that receives its original funding during the settlor’s lifetime, with its contributions making up the bulk of the estate. Alternatively, a testamentary trust is usually established in a last will and testament and funded following the settlor’s death. A living trust can be established at any time and can function independently of a will and testament. However, a testamentary trust only takes effect once the will is enacted, and changes to the will itself are required to change the trust.
Besides testamentary and living trusts, revocable and irrevocable trusts are also used to establish the terms of your estate. Most people who establish a trust early in life will choose a revocable trust that allows them to make changes as they grow older. This kind of trust is always subject to change or revocation at any point while the grantor is alive, making these trusts more flexible as the circumstances of your life change. In contrast, irrevocable trusts cannot be changed or canceled once established, and the terms of these agreements are set for life. Irrevocable trusts are effective tools for achieving particular objectives, such as lowering taxes, but they necessitate renunciation of ownership and management of trust assets.
Probate entails the court-ordered legal process of enabling someone, typically the surviving spouse or another close relative, to collect the deceased person’s assets, settle any outstanding bills and taxes, and eventually transfer assets to the beneficiaries. In North Carolina, the need for probate is not always necessary following a death; it depends on the deceased’s assets and the value of their possessions. Legal proceedings in a probate court are necessary if the deceased person had assets in their name alone. Most other assets can be transferred to the new owners directly without going through probate.
For example, assets labeled “joint tenancy” that name a co-owner, or “tenancy by the entirety” for real estate, already have a named benefactor that will take over the asset once the main title holder is deceased. If the surviving spouse of the deceased is the only beneficiary (person designated in the will to inherit) or heir (person who has the legal right to inherit under state law if there is no will), North Carolina offers a streamlined probate process known as summary probate. The petition is submitted to the court by the spouse, along with the will and any supporting documentation.
A: Depending on whether you use a lawyer during the estate planning process, the price for creating a trust can vary. Online programs allow you to create trusts on your own. However, consulting an estate planning attorney is the best way to ensure that your trust is legally sound and will hold up if contested in court before moving forward with the rest of your planning.
A: Since the assets are contained within the trust, the trust, in line with your wishes, determines how the assets are disbursed. You are not required to transfer your assets through a will. Changing the title of your assets to your heirs prior to your death helps avoid the legal process. A trust becomes public information without going through the North Carolina probate procedure.
A: The grantor, meaning the person creating the trust, establishes their living trust by listing assets alongside beneficiaries that are to receive these assets when the guarantor passes away. When you create a trust in this fashion, your assets are held in the trust’s name but managed for your benefit while you are still alive.
A: Starting a trust begins with listing your assets and naming beneficiaries, then deciding which beneficiaries are to receive those assets upon your passing. From there, you need to decide whether you want to set up an individual or shared trust. Speaking with an estate planning attorney can help you make the decision that best suits your wishes.
Estate planning is a necessary part of creating a plan for your future. Creating a trust allows you to establish a system of asset division that helps perpetuate your wishes after your passing. At Pinnacle Law, our legal team can help you build a trust and create a legally sound, clearly outlined estate plan. For more information on our services, visit our website and contact us today for a consultation.