A living trust is a versatile and highly effective estate planning tool that can be a better choice than a last will as the centerpiece of your estate plan. Unfortunately, many people that could benefit from the utilization of a trust do not consider this option.
One of the reasons why you may ignore the possibility of trust creation is because you fear a loss of control.
Yes, it would be nice to set aside resources that you would like to leave to your loved ones, but you do not know what the future holds. What if you put money in a trust and it turns out that you actually need the assets yourself at some point?
This is a reasonable concern, but you can set it aside when it comes to a living trust, because this would be a revocable trust. If you ever choose to do so, you can revoke the trust entirely at any time and take back direct personal possession of the property that was conveyed into it.
The administrator of a trust is the trustee, and the beneficiary can receive monetary distributions from the trust. While you are alive and fully capable of handling your own affairs, you can act as the trustee and the beneficiary. This is another way that you maintain complete control of your revocable living trust.
Since you are creating the trust to serve as an estate planning device, you would name a successor trustee to manage the trust after you are gone. This person or another individual or entity could be empowered to act as a disability trustee in the event of your incapacity.
After you create the trust, the terms are not permanently set in stone. You can change them at any time, it is relatively simple if you engage an estate planning lawyer to provide assistance.
For a simple change to the trust, you can create a trust amendment. Your original trust would remain intact, and you would simply add this document to elucidate any change or changes that you would like to make.
Trust Amendment and Restatement
You would restate the trust if the changes that you are making are more significant. Another reason to use a trust restatement would be to in essence consolidate a number of different amendments that you added over the years.
Remember, the successor trustee is going to have to make sense of the trust documents. This is something to keep in mind when you are adjusting your estate plan, and we can certainly help you record your evolving wishes in the correct manner.
Start From Scratch
Another option would be to completely start from scratch. You can revoke the existing trust and work with an attorney from our firm to establish a new one. This would only be the appropriate course of action if circumstances have changed considerably, but it can be the best way to proceed in some cases.
Download Our Estate Planning Worksheet
We have developed an estate planning worksheet that you can utilize to gain a better understanding of the process. It is being offered free of charge, and you can come away with a lot of good information if you take the time to go through it. To get your copy, visit our worksheet page and follow the simple instructions.
Schedule a Consultation!
Our doors are open if you are ready to put a custom crafted estate plan in place. You can reach our Albany office at 518-389-6020, and our number in Vermont is 802-879-7133. If you would prefer to reach out electronically, simply send us a message through our contact page.