Michie Law Firm
Estate Planning, Will & Trusts
Dedicated to Personalized Service to Each Client
Estate Planning involves the process of determining what legal protections can be put into place to meet a client's goals for healthcare, wealth protection and legacy. An estate plan usually includes a Trust, a Pour-Over Will, a Durable Power of Attorney, a Health Care Directive and a HIPPA waiver. Other legal documents can also be included, depending on what is necessary to fulfill the client's objectives.
A revocable living trust, also called in the past an
inter vivos trust, is a popular estate planning tool
that you can use to determine who will get your
property when you die. Most living trusts are
“revocable” because you can change them as
your circumstances or wishes change. Revocable
living trusts are “living” because you make them
during your lifetime. Lawyers sometimes call this
Revocable Living Trusts Avoid Probate
Most people use living trusts to avoid probate. Probate is the court-supervised process of wrapping up a person’s estate. Probate can be expensive, time consuming, and is often more of a burden than a help. Property left through a living trust can pass to beneficiaries without probate.
The Trust Document
A living trust document is a written document, signed by the trust maker and a notary public. The document must list the property in the trust, name a trustee, and name who gets the property when the trust maker dies.
The trustee is the person who will take care of the property. While the trust maker is alive, the trustee is usually the trust maker and then a successor trustee takes over after the trust maker’s death.
Transferring Property Into the Trust
After the trust document is made, the trust maker must transfer any property he or she wants covered by the trust into the trust. For many items, this requires simply including a list of property with the trust document. However, titled property (like real estate) must be retitled in the name of the trust. This is usually not complicated or difficult, but it must be done correctly or the titled property could end up in probate.