A Living Trust Can Keep Your Estate Private and Help Your Heirs Avoid Probate

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Some people believe that creating a will and naming and executor keeps their estate and real property out of probate. In fact, the probate court supervises the administration of a will after a person is deceased. One goal for avoiding probate is to keep the financial and legal affairs of an estate private. Because items in probate become public record, a will cannot offer the level of privacy that you may be looking for. To keep the administration and distribution of your assets completely private, learn about using a living trust as a primary estate planning tool.

What Is a Living Trust?

A trust is a legal entity that you can create to hold and distribute property and assets to your heirs and beneficiaries. The trust agreement is a document you create that names the beneficiaries and the trustee, and gives instructions how you with income, assets, and property held in the trust to be managed. Either you, your spouse, or both can serve as trustee. You can also name another individual or entity such as a bank or financial institution as your trustee. You can also designate a successor trustee in your trust agreement.

The trust agreement states how and when beneficiaries receive assets from the trust. They are often used to provide income to minor children, children from previous marriages or relationships, or to ensure care for a disabled spouse or child. The agreement also instructs the trustee how to distribute assets and property upon the death of a primary beneficiary and names the contingent beneficiary of the trust.

Revocable vs Irrevocable

An irrevocable trust is one that cannot be amended or modified once it has been created. While this type of trust provides an added level of security for the beneficiary, the creator of the trust relinquishes his or her right to change the conditions of the trust or to change or redirect assets. A revocable trust is one that allows the creator of the trust to maintain control over all aspects of the trust. The creator of a revocable trust can amend the agreement or completely revoke and remove all assets from the original trust.

Is a Living Trust Right for My Family?

Have an estate planning attorney prepare your trust to ensure that: your assets are protected, you retain control over the trust, and your beneficiaries receive distributions from the trust in accordance with your wishes. Contact Spencer & Collier PLLC. for help creating a trust according to Utah law.

Tags: Utah, estate plan, living trust

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