What is a Trust?
A trust is an agreement or arrangement that instructs another person (your trustee) to take care of your finances and property. As the trust creator, you can appoint any person over eighteen years old to be your trustee, and you can also appoint a bank or trust company, if your property has a high value. Your trustee has a duty to account to you and to any beneficiaries of the trust and has a duty to always make sure that his investments and use of your property is in your best interest or in the interest of any beneficiary you appoint.
Your trust can be set up so that it is effective immediately. For example, you might appoint a bank as trustee and have multiple trust accounts set up for your children or grandchildren to get money when they finish college. In this instance, the trustee is in charge of investing the money in such a way as to get the greatest amount out of it, whether that means investing it in the stock market, or just holding it in interest-bearing accounts until the beneficiaries come of age. Or your trust can begin if you become incapacitated. For example, you can set up the documents now allowing your family member or trusted friend to take over all of your bank accounts and property if you should ever become mentally unable to do so for yourself. In that case, you would of course make provisions for your own medical and other care, and it would be your trustee’s duty to be sure to use your money to take care of you.
Your trusts can be as simple or as complex as you want, and can instruct your property to be maintained, cared for, or disposed of in any way you choose, as long as it is legal.
What is Included in a Trust?
Any of your personal or real property can be put into a trust, and the trust can be for the benefit of you or for the benefit of another person. You’ve probably heard of “trust funds” for children or grandchildren, where a person places money into an account that is managed by a bank or manager, and then the child is able to access that money when he reaches a certain age.
You can also put all of your money, personal property, and real estate into a trust for your own benefit, and can designate someone as the trustee to manage your assets in case you become impaired through an accident or illness. This helps you to be sure you know that you will be taken care of if something should happen that makes you unable to manage your own affairs, and also saves the trouble of having someone appointed by the Court as your legal guardian if you become ill or injured and cannot take care of your own finances and property, and ensures that the person who is in charge of your affairs is someone that you trust and have chosen.
Why Should I hire an Attorney?
You should hire an attorney to draft your trust documents to be sure that everything is included in the trusts that you want included. Additionally, an attorney will ensure that your trust is drafted correctly and in such a way as to be effective so that nobody can dispute that this was what you want to do with your assets. This firm has over thirty years’ experience in helping our clients to plan for their estates and in helping our clients to enact their trusts once they have been created. We offer a fifteen minute consultation by telephone for free, and are available to speak to you any time.
What Are the Steps to Creating my trust?
Once you hire our firm, we will schedule a time for you to meet with us at our office. You will need to bring with you the legal documents relating to your properties: deeds or titles to real estate or vehicles, account numbers for bank accounts or retirement accounts, life insurance or other insurance policy numbers, and lists of other personal property that you want included in your trust. You will also need to know, when you come in, who you want to designate as your trustee and who you want the beneficiaries of your trust to be.
Once we have gone over all the documents with you, we will draft trust documents for you and will send them to you by e-mail to review. We will make as many revisions as we need to in order to be sure your trust documents say what they need to say and do what you want done. After that, we will meet with you and your trustee at a bank or financial planner’s office and execute the trust documents with you, so that you are able to set up your trusts right then.