By Steve Worrall, Marietta Wills and Trusts Lawyer
A living trust is a perfect document for protecting privacy, avoiding probate, and determining who can take care of your affairs while you’re incapacitated and after you’ve passed on. It’s often an essential element for estate plans in Marietta as it gives an extra layer of protection to estates and gives the trust maker, also known as the Grantor, added peace of mind that their interests will be protected and their wishes will be carried out. So before you visit a Marietta wills and trusts attorney to set up your living trust, there are some issues you should start thinking about in order to give yourself the best opportunity to achieve your estate planning goals.
- Pick the Goals You Want to Achieve with the Trust
Each person has different needs when it comes to estate planning, and there are many goals that a living trust can help you achieve. For instance, if you want to keep your financial and personal affairs private and avoid a long, drawn out probate proceeding, a living trust will ensure your wishes are met.
- Determine What Assets You Want Protected By the Trust
Once you’ve planned your goals, you will want to decide which assets you’d like to place in a trust. Many people will put their house in the trust since it is their most valuable asset and will likely put them over the threshold when determining whether their estate will go through a large or small probate process. In addition, you may want to consider which financial accounts should go into the trust (typically those held solely in your name) and which should stay out.
- Decide Who Will Act as Successor Trustee
A successor trustee will not only be responsible for the administration of the trust estate once you pass on, but may also be called on to handle your affairs if you become incapacitated, or possibly if you do not want the responsibility of handling your own affairs at a certain point. The successor trustee may also be in charge of managing any property or assets left to minors in your trust, so it is important that you choose someone with a keen financial acumen who you can trust to carry out your wishes.
- Choose Your Beneficiaries
It’s your decision as to whom you want to leave a financial legacy for in your living trust, and it’s something that you must think about very carefully. If you make a choice to omit a family member from your estate plan who would otherwise expect to receive an inheritance from you, it may be a good idea to leave behind an explanation of your wishes concerning the matter.
- Hire an Experienced Marietta Wills and Trusts Lawyer to Draft Your Trust
There are a lot of do-it-yourself programs and cheap alternatives available for creating a living trust, but unfortunately, these documents are often inadequate and will not hold up under probate court scrutiny. That’s why it’s important to research experienced wills and trusts attorneys in Marietta to draft your trust so you have peace of mind knowing that it’s done correctly and your wishes will be carried out.
If you have any questions about setting up a living trust, or if you’d like to have your existing living trust reviewed in order to make sure it is set up properly for your situation, please give our Marietta wills and trusts firm a call at 770.425.6060 to set up a FREE Georgia Family Treasures Planning Session (valued at $600 or more).