Advantages of Using a Revocable Living Trust for Asset Transfer

There are many different advantages to using a revocable living trust as part of your estate planning. If an accident or an illness leaves you incapacitated but still alive, your successor trustee is able to handle your financial affairs without the need for appointing a conservator or a guardian by the court.

Another major benefit to using a revocable living trust is that if the beneficiaries of your trust are minor children or others who may not be capable of handling an inheritance as you intend, the trust can keep those assets and hold them until those individuals reach a more mature age.

This gives a great deal more control and flexibility to the creator of the trust for those who may be concerned about children who are spendthrifts or not capable of properly managing a significant inheritance.

You can also avoid the hassle, time, and expense of multiple probate proceedings if you own real property in more than one state. A husband and wife may even be able to maximize their federal estate tax exemptions when partnering with an experienced revocable living trust attorney to craft this document. Finally, it is more difficult to contest a living trust.

When a will is contested, the assets are frozen and they cannot be distributed until the claim has been addressed. Assets placed in a living trust, however, are not frozen pending the outcome of a legal challenge. Discover more about the benefits of using a revocable living trust by scheduling a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer in Maine.



How Do Assets in Multiple States Affect Your Estate Planning?

Geographic borders might seem like not that big of a deal when you can easily drive or fly from one state to another, but when it comes to the distribution of your assets after you pass away, geographic borders matter.

If you have a loved one who owned property in more than one state, probate administration in each state might be required which is extremely important if you are appointed as the personal representative or executor in either one. This is because matters of real estate are always governed by the laws of the state in which the property is physically located.

While some states will allow family members to conduct probate administrations within that second state without hiring an attorney, others will require you to work directly with a probate lawyer to open that estate matter. Great examples include snowbirds because probate might be required in both their home state and in the place where they spend the winter. For example, imagine someone who has a second home in Florida. Florida proceedings might control all of the tangible personal property that was owned by the decedent and any real estate holdings in the state of Florida.

A separate probate proceeding might be required in the snowbird’s home state which will need to be filed in the county in which the deceased lived at the time that they passed. This can add significant complications and delays to the probate process, making it all the more important to carry out a conversation with an estate planning lawyer if you are approaching your estate planning and own property in more than one location.

Whether New Hampshire is your home base or where your vacation home is, you need the support of a dedicated estate planning lawyer to guide you through the process.


What Does It Mean to Say an Account Is “Transfer on Death?”

A transfer on death designation allows beneficiaries to receive assets at the time an individual passes away rather than waiting for the entire estate to go through probate. This also lets the security or account holder specify the specific percentage of assets that every beneficiary will receive.

This is very helpful for an executor to distribute a person’s assets after the creator passes away. Transfer on death designations only apply to those assets that have a named beneficiary. In order to initiate a transfer on death, a brokerage has to have appropriate documents to verify that those assets can be transferred.

Retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs are transfer on death. This means that an unmarried individual can choose anyone as a beneficiary whereas a married person’s spouse may have rights to some or all of a retirement account at the time the spouse passes away.

A surviving spouse generally has more withdrawal opportunities and flexibility than other beneficiaries do. The uniform transfer on death securities registration act governs these transfers. This allows owners to name beneficiaries for bonds, stocks and brokerage accounts which is similar to a payable on death bank account. Each individual brokerage firm would need to have their own paperwork filed for this purpose.

Bear in mind that not all accounts will automatically default to transfer on death. As a result, you need to work with an estate planning lawyer to ensure you’ve covered all your assets in a transfer plan. Tools like a trust and will can help you achieve the right balance for your estate.

Work with our NH and ME estate planning lawyers today.