The Living Trust is the foundation to your Estate Plan with Family Tree, but what is it? A Trust is a very simple tool that is used to transfer title (or ownership) of your assets when you have passed away. A Living Trust accomplishes what most of us believe our Will should. It allows you to appoint a person (or persons) who can show up when you pass away, instantly take control, sell your assets, close accounts, and distribute the income based upon your wishes. NO STATE OR ATTORNEY INVOLVEMENT…. AT ALL!
Do you trust the government or the state to distribute your assets?
Have you appointed a person to carry out your wishes?
Do you own more than one piece of real property?
If so, you may want to consider a Living Trust since each property will likely be subject to some form of probate.
Do you own assets in more than one state?
You may be facing a SEPARATE probate in each state.
Are you in a second marriage or blended family?
What happens when you pass away? Who gets everything, your spouse…your kids…can your spouse disinherit your kids….?
Do you have minor children?
If you do have minor children, a trust may be appropriate. It allows you to name a guardian for any minor children (so does a will) to establish provisions specifying particular life events when a child will be entitled to any assets held in trust.
Do you have children, grandchildren or other dependents with special needs?
In those instances the access or control those heirs have over their inherited property may need to be limited. With a standard will your property can be passed on to those heirs but a will alone does not allow you to exercise much control over their use of the property.
Will you actively manage your estate plan?
If not, a Living Trust may not be a suitable solution. Again, a trust will only be beneficial if assets are transferred into it.
All of these questions and so many more can be and should be addressed in your plan.
What other documents are in my trust?
Every Living Trust with Family Tree Estate Planning will have :
- Pour-Over Will
- Certificate of Trust
- Power of Attorney Medical
- Power of Attorney Financial
- Living Will
- Medical Release form
- Do Not Resuscitate
- Burial Instruction sheet
How do I start?
Our company provides a free service for all Arizona residents. What we do is, spend a few minutes with you going over the probate process and how it works in Arizona. We also go over Wills, Living Wills, Living Trusts, and how everything relates to your situation. At that point we will be able to answer any and all of the questions you may have and leave you with the specific information that is designed for you and your family. This provides you with the tools to make your own educated decision based on what is right for you.
There is no cost to speak with us. In fact, this is how we spend our marketing dollars. We invite you to visit our office in Scottsdale or are willing to come out to you. We have the ability to create these documents and we would love to earn your business. Our hope is once you are ready to make a decision, rather than picking up the phone book, you would call us back.
Can I just do a Will instead?
Not every situation will require a Living Trust. There is more than one way to avoid probate! This in itself is the reason we take the time to sit down and discuss your options. So the short answer is maybe!
So what is best for you? In many respects, a Living Trust and a Will accomplish similar objectives. A Trust, however, allows you to realize other objectives that a Will cannot. But those advantages do not come without a price. Whether or not a Living Trust is better for you than a will depends on whether the additional advantages are worth the cost. When choosing, remember one size does not fit all. What is right for one person may not be right for everyone. Your estate plan should be prepared in a way that best meets the needs of you and your family.
Advantage of the Living Trust:
The biggest advantage of setting up your Living Trust when funded properly is that you will avoid the Probate process. In Arizona typically between 6 months and a year to settle and a range of 5-10% is paid between taxes, court costs and attorney fees. When someone passes away with only a Will, sometimes the entire estate is tied up for years in this legal process. Your Trust is created, signed and assets are transferred into the Trust so that everything can be disbursed immediately after your death.
We recommend that you get your Revocable Living Trust reviewed every 5-6 years. This is because laws do change and situations can change within your Living Trust. For example, most Living Trusts that have not been reviewed in the state of Arizona during the past few years will not contain H.I.P.A.A. language or updates. Obviously, for your Living Trust and medical documents to be as effective as intended, you should have them updated periodically. We review existing documents created by any other firm from any state at no cost.