This is the next post in our series on the creation of an estate plan for Hartford, Connecticut residents. Our last article discussed why it is important to have a last will and testament. It is important to understand that if you die without a will, then your assets may be distributed in a way that is inconsistent with your final wishes. Also, not having a will can result in infighting amongst the surviving heirs. Speaking with an estate planning attorney can help you to understand your options for preventing such problems. In this article we will discuss another important topic – how one can benefit from utilizing a “living trust” in their estate plan. Contact our office today to speak with a lawyer knowledgeable about estate plans.
A “Trust” is considered a distinct legal entity which can own property or other assets. Generally, one will create a Trust as part of their estate plan and place all, or a portion, of their property into the Trust. There are several benefits to doing this. First, assets in a Trust will not be subject to the probate process. This is due to the fact that a designated “Trustee” will distribute the Trust’s assets in accordance with your final wishes expressed in the terms of the trust, without needing permission from a Court to do so. Second, the use of a Trust provides one with greater flexibility in their estate planning. Say, for example, that one wishes for their child to inherit a house, but only after having met certain conditions (such as the completion of college). The Trustee would continue to oversee the Trust until the condition is met. Once the condition is met, then the house would be distributed. This is different from an estate which operates under a last will and testament which requires the immediate distribution of all assets. There are also other benefits, which are beyond the scope of this article, which come with the utilization of a Trust.
It is common for people to use a Living Trust as part of their estate plan. Under this scenario, one places their assets into the Trust and they, themselves, serve as Trustee. They are able to use the Trust assets and income to pay bills and other obligations. Again, the Trust documents will name an individual who will serve as Trustee when the creator of the Trust passes. Since the property technically belongs to the Trust, and not the deceased, such property and assets would not be subjected to the probate process. If you wish to create a living Trust then there are several factors which you may wish to consider. It is suggested that you speak with an attorney who is experienced in handling such matters.
Our Hartford estate planning lawyers are able to assist with the creation of a Living Trust. We will use your initial consultation to gain an understanding of your situation, to help you understand all of your options, and to put an arrangement in place which best meets your needs. We pride ourselves on providing the highest level of service and we are ready to assist you. Contact us today. We also service the Connecticut areas of Wethersfield, New Britain, Bristol, Rocky Hill, West Hartford, East Hartford, Glastonbury, and Manchester, as well as the Middlesex County cities of Middletown and Cromwell.