What Happens If I Need to Settle a Revocable Trust After the Trust Maker Has Passed Away?

Most people will not have had the experience of being named a successor trustee in charge of settling a person’s revocable living trust after a loved one passes away. There are many different steps involved in closing out this trust and all of these should be approached with care and with the possible support of an experienced probate lawyer.

The first step to settle a revocable living trust is to locate all of the important papers and estate planning documents owned by the creator of the trust. You will also need to look at their will in addition to trust documents, but you might also encounter things, such personal property memorandums or memorial instructions.

All of these documents should be kept in a safe place until they can be passed on to the attorney helping you with the administration of the trust. You might also find other things that will not be included in their probated estate, such as certain brokerage account statements or life insurance policies.

After you’ve looked at all of the important documents, read through the specific provisions of the individuals revocable living trust. Make note of the beneficiaries of any residuary trusts, personal effects or specific bequests and whether or not a person has been named to serve as successor trustee.

You’ll also want to make a list of how each asset is titled from the list of what the decedent owed and owned as well as any questions you may have for your estate planning attorney in NH.

 

Two Ways to Protect Your Estate from Taxes

Tax planning is an important component of completing your estate plan and it should always be done under the guidance of an experienced professional. This is because there are many different details to consider in minimizing or avoiding taxes and you want to ensure that you have thought through all of the possibilities.

One of the easiest ways to minimize your tax burden is to put your assets inside a trust. A trust to deal with the assets allows those items to pass to beneficiaries after the creator’s death without having to go through probate. Trusts typically avoid state probate requirements and the expenses aligned with them.

In a revocable trust the grantor can take the assets out if necessary. In an irrevocable trust, however, these assets will be tied up until the grantor passes away. The important component of minimizing a tax burden is to ensure that the assets have been properly titled into the trust. This is the only way to add the additional layer of protection.

Many people default to putting their assets into joint names with a child by assuming this is the most appropriate way to pass on property quickly. However, this can actually increase the taxes that are paid by the child and is not recommended in most cases as an estate planning strategy.

If you need more help determining if trusts are the right tool to help you accomplish estate planning goals, write down your questions and set up a time to speak with a NH trusts lawyer to get more information.

Does a Trust Take Care of Everything in My Estate Planning?

A trust is an important tool that makes a lot of sense in its various forms for the right person. However, it is a mistake to assume that an estate planning trust will accomplish each and every one of your estate planning goals.

Most sizeable estate planning strategies incorporate a revocable or an irrevocable trust in some format and it’s important to recognize what this process actually means for you as well as the asset.

When an asset is placed inside the control of an irrevocable trust, the ownership of the asset is handed over to the trust and the management of it is given to a trustee. The trustee must maintain a fiduciary responsibility to the beneficiaries of the trust which can create some forms of conflict for the trustee. This is most problematic if you put together a trust and hand over the role of trustee to a family member when other family members are beneficiaries.

This can put unnecessary strains on family relationships in the future and is often a good reason to use a third party like a professional or corporate fiduciary to play that role outside of your family and reduce the individual pressure.

Remember that a trust is only as good as it is aligned with your individual goals and has been properly funded. This is why the selection of the right kind of trust matters so much and why you should count on an attorney’s support as you navigate through that process.

For further information about the trust creation steps, meet with an estate planning attorney licensed in Maine and New Hampshire now.