A trust is an arrangement where one (or more) person, called a trustee(s), holds the legal title to the trust property for another the benefit of another person(s), called a beneficiary. An inter vivos trust, also called a living trust, is simply a trust you create while you are alive, rather than one that is created at your death under the terms of your will. A living trust can be revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust, allows you to revoke or modify the trust after it is created. While an irrevocable trust cannot be revoked or modified after it is signed.
To make a living trust you will need to:
Choose whether to make an individual or shared trust
Decide what property you will put into the trust
Choose the trustee(s) and successor trustee(s)
Decide who will be the beneficiaries of the trust property
Create the trust document
Execute the trust document
Change the title of any trust property to the trust.
Ultimately, it is best to contact a lawyer to create the living trust.
Yes. You can be the trustee of your own living trust which will allow your to keep full control over all the property in the trust. Note: You cannot be the sole trustee and the sole beneficiary.
It depends. The main advantage of making a living trust is that it spares your family the expense and delay of probate court after your death. But that does not mean that you need one. Depending on your particular situation, a trust might not be necessary and overly complicate things.
Yes. Your will provides a backup plan for any property that is not in your trust. Essentially, the will acts as a catch-all in case something is not added to the trust before you die. You can also use the will to name someone to inherit property that you haven’t specifically called for in the trust. Plus, if you don’t have a will and the property isn’t transferred under the living trust or some other method, Missouri’s intestacy laws will determine who gets the property.
Most people do not need to worry about estate taxes because the federal government is levied only on estates worth close to $12 million and Missouri does not have its own estate tax. So unless you estate is close to $12 million, you don’t need to worry about making a more complicated trust in order to reduce or avoid estate taxes.
Contact us at Fortman Law. We will simplify your options into an easy, affordable plan that meets you and your family’s needs. The first step is to contact us and set up your initial complimentary meeting. At Fortman Law we offer in person (including a “we come to you” option) and virtual meeting options. Just let us know which you would prefer! We are conveniently located in Florissant, Missouri, but practice throughout the state of Missouri- including St. Louis County, St. Charles County, St. Genevieve County, Franklin County, Jefferson County, and more. You are welcome to call or stop by our office for a free initial consultation. It is in your best interest to work with a team of legal experts while doing estate planning, so please feel free to reach out to us for help!