Pub. Date: Jan 2014
Country: United States
Like most people, you’ve probably heard stories about the excessive costs of probate and, in particular, the excessive fees charged by lawyers for carrying out probate. If so, it won’t come as a surprise to you to learn that probate typically costs 5% of the overall gross value of the estate. Yes, this is the value before mortgages and other debts are taken into account. In fact, in many cases, this figure can be a lot higher at 11%+.
The problem of probate fees is compounded by the fact that many of a deceased’s assets are frozen until the probate process is complete. This means that the beneficiaries will not be able to get access to them. This can impose unnecessary financial hardships on families as they wait months and sometimes years to have their loved one’s assets released from probate.
Fortunately probate can all be avoided by simply creating a revocable living trust!
With a normal trust, one party (known as the “trustee”) agrees to hold the ownership of and manage one or more assets on behalf of the owner (known as the “grantor”). Revocable living trusts are very similar except that, unlike other trusts, you will be both the grantor and the trustee thereby allowing you to retain control of your assets after you transfer them to your trust.
It’s quite easy to create a revocable living trust. All you need to do is simply complete and sign a living trust agreement. Once the trust is established (which happens on signing), you then transfer some or all of your own personal assets into the name of the trust. In turn, as trustee, you take over the management of those assets while they are in the trust.
When you die, the assets in the living trust are distributed by the person named in your living trust agreement as the successor trustee (this is very like an executor) in accordance with the terms of the living trust agreement – in much the same way as an executor distributes assets under a last will & testament. Similar to a Will, you can specify who receives the trust assets. However, as the assets are held in the name of the trust rather than in your personal name, they will not form part of your estate for probate purposes. They will therefore not need to go through the probate process and can be distributed relatively quickly when the time comes.
Best of all, as it’s a revocable living trust, you can terminate the living trust at any time you wish and have the assets transferred back into your name!
Luckily, it’s neither difficult nor expensive to make a living trust. To help you, our team of estate planning lawyers have created a straightforward and easy to understand guide that will bring you you step-by-step through the process of creating your very own living trust, transferring assets to your living trust and much more. It even shows you how to revoke your living trust if you wish to.
In Make Your Own Living Trust and Avoid Probate, we’ll tell you all you need to know about living trusts, their advantages and disadvantages, the tax implications, the alternatives to living trusts and much more. We’ll also show you how to:-
With detailed information, easy-to-follow instructions, helpful worksheets and all of the forms necessary, we show both individuals and couples how to avoid the otherwise inevitable delays and costs of probate by preparing on their own revocable living trust and employing other simple probate avoidance strategies.
Buy Now! And ensure that your family's inheritance isn't wasted on unnecessary probate and lawyer fees!
Enjoy the Peace of Mind that comes with knowing that your loved ones won't be waiting months or even years to receive their inheritances!
An Introduction to Living Trusts and Probate
Chapter 1 - Probate and Why People Try to Avoid it
Overview of the Probate Process
What are the Steps Involved in Probate or Intestate Administration?
How Long Does it Take?
How Much will Probate Cost?
Disadvantages of Probate
Advantages of Probate
Chapter 2 - Probate Avoidance Measures
Advantages and Disadvantages of Probate
Payable on Death or Transfer on Death Accounts
Transfer on Death Securities
Life Insurance Proceeds
Joint Ownership of Property
Tenancy by the Entireties
Revocable Living Trust
Probate Free Transfers of Assets
Transfer of Vehicles
Simplified Transfer Procedures for “Small Estates”
Chapter 3 - An Introduction to Trusts
What exactly is a Trust?
The Origin of Trusts
Basic Types of Trusts
What Exactly are Living Trusts?
Parties to a Living Trust
The Development and Growing Use of Living Trusts
Chapter 4 - Advantages and Disadvantages of Living Trusts
Advantages of Using a Living Trust
Provides Protection During Incapacity
Management of Children’s Inheritance
Inexpensive and Easy to Create
Peace of Mind
Disadvantages of Living Trusts
Failure to Fund the Living Trust
Doesn’t Completely Avoid Delays in Distribution of Assets
Lack of Court Supervision
No Real Tax Savings
(i) Income Tax
(ii) Estate Tax
Limited Financial Savings for Smaller Estates
No Protection from Creditors
A Will is Still Required
Capable of Being Challenged
Chapter 5 - Types of Living Trusts
What Type of Trust do You Need?
Living Trust for an Individual
Living Trusts for Couples
Individual Living Trusts
Basic Shared Living Trusts
Basic AB Trusts
How Does an AB Living Trust Work?
Disadvantages of an AB Living Trust
AB Disclaimer Trust
Chapter 6 - Successor Trustees
The Role of the Initial Trustee
Appointing a Co-Trustee
Appointing a Successor Trustee
Appointing an Alternate Successor Trustee
The Role of the Successor Trustee
Should Trustees Get Paid for Their Work?
Who is entitled to act as a successor trustee?
Whom Should You Choose as a Successor Trustee?
Successor Trustee’s Duties and Responsibilities
The Duty to Adhere to the Terms of the Trust
Duty to Secure Assets
The Duty to Act Personally
The Duty to Act in the Best Interests of the Beneficiaries
The Duty to Account
The Duty to Supply Information
The Duty to Invest Prudently
The Duty to Carry out Duties Without Payment
The Duty to not Benefit Personally from the Trust
Keeping Trust Assets Separate
Paying Taxes, Claims and Expenses
Making Payments from the Trust
Removing a Trustee
Chapter 7 - Making Gifts Under Your Living Trust
Types of Gifts Under a Living Trust
Specific Item Gifts
Gift of the Residuary Trust Estate
What is a Beneficiary?
Types of Beneficiaries Under a Living Trust
Specific Gift Beneficiary
Beneficiaries Under a Shared Trust
Gifts to Spouses
Community Property States
Common Law States
Gifts to Minors
A Child’s Trust
A Family Pot Trust
Gifts to Charities
Disinheriting Your Spouse
Disinheriting Your Child
Management of Children’s Property
Options for Property Management
Appointment of a Property Guardian
Uniform Transfer to Minors’ Act
Chapter 8 - Estate Taxes
Federal Estate Tax
State Death Tax
State Estate or Death Taxes: Paid by the Estate
State Inheritance Taxes: Paid by the Recipient of Property
Other Ways to Reduce Estate Taxes
Lifetime Gifts to Children and Grandchildren
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts
Family Limited Partnerships
Qualified Family Owned Business (QFMOB)
Special Use Real Estate Valuation
Chapter 9 - Transferring Assets to Your Living Trust
What Assets Should be Put in Your Living Trust?
Title to Assets Transferred to a Living Trust
Employer Identification Numbers
How to Transfer Specific Property to a Trust
Types of Deed
Tax on Transfer Deeds
Tangible Personal Property
Cars, Boats and Other Vehicles
United States Savings Bonds
Publicly Quoted Stocks and Bonds
Chapter 10 - Executing and Making Changes to Your Living Trust
Executing Your Living Trust
Reviewing Your Living Trust
Amending Your Living Trust
Transferring or Removing Property From Your Living Trust
Revocation of Your Living Trust
Chapter 11 - Administration of the Living Trust Following the Grantor’s Death
What Must the Successor Trustee Do When the Grantor Dies?
Obtain Certified Copies of the Death Certificate
Obtain Tax Identification Number for the Trust
Collection and Management of Trust Assets
Claim Life Insurance Proceeds
Gain Access to Bank Accounts and Other Financial Accounts
Identify Debts Owed by the Grantor
Maintain Proper Accountings of Trust Assets
Preparing and Filing Tax Returns
Federal Estate Tax
Trust Income Tax Returns
State Taxes and Pick-up Taxes
Transferring Property to Beneficiaries
Administering a Child’s Trust
Chapter 12 - Ancillary Estate Planning Documents
What is a ‘Pour-Over Will?’
Avoiding Conflict Between Your Living Trust & Will
Planning for Incapacity – Durable Power of Attorney for Finance and Property
Planning for Incapacity – Advance Healthcare Directives
Healthcare Power of Attorney
Appendix 1 - Instructions for Completing Your Documents
Revocable Living Trust for an Individual
Revocable Living Trust for a Couple
AB Revocable Living Trust for a Couple
Deed of Assignment for Use with a Revocable Living Trust for an Individual
Deed of Assignment for Use with a Revocable Living Trust for a Couple
Certification of Trust for Use with a Revocable Living Trust for an Individual
Certification of Trust for Use with a Revocable Living Trust for a Couple
Revocable Living Trust Agreement (Amendment Agreement) for an Individual
Revocable Living Trust Agreement (Amendment Agreement) for a Couple
Notice of Revocation
Appendix 2 - Revocable Living Trust Documents
Appendix 3 - Miscellaneous clause for use in a Revocable Living Trust Agreement
Appendix 4 - Deed of Assignment
Appendix 5 - Certification of Trust
Appendix 6- Revocable Living Trust Ammendment Agreements
Appendix 7 - Notice for Revocation of a Living Trust Agreement
The following forms are included with this book:-
Living Trust Forms
Revocable living trust agreements
Deeds of assignment
Certifications of trust
Revocable living trust amendment agreements
Notice of revocation
Estate Planning Worksheet