Setting up a living trust may currently be the last thing on your mind. After all, you plan on living for a very long time. But no one can predict the future or what can happen in a blink of an eye. Living trusts are designed to protect your wishes and keep your family from experiencing a lengthy probate. So, how do you set up a living trust?
How to Set Up a Living Trust
Create a List of Your Assets
Prior to setting up your living trust, you should take the time to create a list of all of your assets. Once you have this list, you can decide which assets will be a part of your living trust and which ones will not. As soon as you have determined which assets will be a part of your trust, you should gather all of the paperwork you have for those assets. You will need to make sure you are using accurate information about each one when creating your living trust.
Determine Who Will Inherit Each Asset
You can easily name one person as the beneficiary for your entire trust. However, you can also name multiple people and have each person receive certain assets. This is your living trust, so you can have it set up as you wish.
It is important to note that you must have an adult manage certain assets if you name a child as a beneficiary. We also recommend having backup beneficiaries. This will resolve any issues if one of your beneficiaries chooses not to accept an asset.
Determine Who Your Successor Trustee Will Be
You are the person in charge of your living trust, as long as you are alive and capable of making decisions. Upon your death, or if you become incapable of making decisions, a successor trustee will be needed.
It is best to talk to the person you want as your successor trustee before adding them to your living trust. After all, you want to make sure they are willing to do this task for you. If they are not willing to do it, you should find someone else.
Create Your Living Trust Document
Writing your living trust document is not really difficult, but not drafting it properly can cause issues later on. Plus, each state has its own requirements for creating living trusts. So, it is best to have an attorney do this for you.
Your attorney can make sure the paperwork is in order with all of the correct information. Once you have reviewed the paperwork, you can sign your living trust right at your attorney’s office. They will have a notary there to make it official.
If you choose to write your own living trust, you will still need to have it notarized for it to be an official document.
Keep Your Living Trust in a Safe Place
Once your living trust is notarized, you will want to keep it in a safe place. A home safe or a safety deposit box are excellent options. You should also give a copy of your living trust to your successor trustee or at least let them know where to find it when it is needed.
Transfer Titles for Assets in Your Living Trust
This is also the time to transfer the titles for any assets you listed in your living trust. Properties will still be in your name, but the deed will now include the trustee language.
As you can see, setting up a living trust isn’t too difficult. But the language used within the document can be tricky for a person who is not an attorney. This is why we recommend everyone sees an attorney to set up their living trust. After all, it is an important document that you want to be valid upon your death. An invalid living trust can create all sorts of issues for your family.
If you haven’t set up a living trust yet, or have questions about the one you do have, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.