The Use of Trusts in Missouri Estate Planning
Springfield Trust Lawyer for Comprehensive Trust Planning
At LifeGen Law Group, we offer a comprehensive array of estate, probate, and trust administrative services from pre-administrative consultation to overseeing the proper distribution of your estate, to the final accounting and closing of the estate. Even if the estate avoids probate, we offer services assisting your fiduciary in making sure your estate is handled just as you had planned. Work with an experienced Springfield trust lawyer who understands the best approach for minimizing fees and tax obligations in your estate plan.
A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person holds legal title to property for another person. As the creator of a revocable trust, you are called the “grantor” or the “donor.” While you are alive, you are a beneficiary of the trust and can also serve as either the sole trustee or as one of a number of co-trustees. The trustees manage the assets in the trust, which can include real estate, bank accounts, investments, and tangible property (such as fine art) under the terms set forth in the trust document.
One of the benefits of owning your assets in a trust is it allows the avoidance of probate on those assets inside the trust, giving you more privacy and maintaining a plan for your wealth and assets that is determined by you and your family. This desirable outcome can save the estate a significant amount of money, time, and frustration.
After an individual has passed away, even if all their assets were owned in a trust, there are many things which should be handled prior to the complete distribution of assets to the beneficiaries. Consulting with a Springfield trust attorney practicing in this area is important to ensure administrative matters are handled appropriately. Without proper administration, there could be added tax consequences, liability for the trustee, improper transfers of assets, and many other pitfalls that could be easily avoided.
If you are the trustee of a trust for an individual who has passed away, feel free to contact us to schedule a FREE consultation at our Springfield office to ensure the trust administration is being handled properly.
Understanding the Benefits of a Living Trust
Clients often wonder whether a will or a living trust might be the better approach for protecting their assets in life and after death. There are some marked benefits to working with an attorney to create a living trust. First and foremost, a living trust avoids probate. Even if you have created a valid will, your assets must go through probate if the will is to control the distribution of those assets. Moreover, the probate process through the court system is time-consuming, public record, and more costly than other types of administration.
In addition, a living trust allows its owner to be in full and complete control of the trust during his or her lifetime. Thus, creating a living trust will allow you to continue to oversee your assets in any manner you see fit. Only upon your death can your appointed successor trustee step in and handle the trust, and even then, they must do so according to the plans you outlined in your trust.
Living trusts, by contrast, avoid probate court altogether and offer a speedier solution for distributing your assets and property to your heirs. While the probate administration process typically takes 9 months at a minimum and can take years to complete, a trust administration process can take as little as a few months, depending on the tax considerations and types of assets involved. In a living trust, your assigned successor trustee will be responsible for settling any of your debts and distributing your assets according to the wishes set forth in your trust. Moreover, making a claim against a trust estate is more difficult than making a claim against a probate estate, leaving your heirs more protected from potential claims against your estate.
Finally, a living trust provides more privacy than a will because a living trust is not admitted to the probate court and is thereby never made public record. Instead, a living trust is distributed privately upon your death, shielding your heirs and loved ones from any potential inquiries into the nature of your wealth.
Although setting up a living trust is a bit more complex than writing a standard will, there are several tax-saving strategies that offer significant benefits through living trusts. Choosing a local Springfield trust lawyer who understands these complexities will make the process smoother.
Choose an Experienced Springfield Trust Lawyer to Develop Your Estate Plan
Hiring an experienced Springfield trust lawyer to navigate your estate planning needs is a useful approach, especially when you are unsure which instrument will make the most sense for your estate plan. Our firm’s attorneys provide highly customized wealth preservation and estate planning strategies that leverage cross-disciplinary expertise in the wills, trusts, business, and real estate industries. We frequently counsel a broad range of clients, from young families to older adults, business owners, high net worth individuals, and their families in their estate planning needs, assisting personal representatives, trustees, and beneficiaries with an unmatched level of service.