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The Process of Setting Up A Living Trust

When it comes to setting up a living trust, there are a few decisions that have to be made.

One of the first choices to make are whether you need a shared trust or an individual trust. For those couples who are married or living together, and own most of their property, could benefit most from a shared trust. Alternatively, two individual trusts could be taken.

Deciding which items should be left in the trust is the next step. While not all property will be included in the living trust, some of the larger items that would otherwise go through probate should be. These items include houses and other real estate acquisitions, small business interests such as shares, patents or copyrights and valuable works of art or collectibles. Holding your most valuable property items in a living trust can drastically help to avoid probate fees.

The next stage is to decide who will inherit your trust property. Most first choices include family, friends and charities, but at this stage, it is also important to include contingent beneficiaries too.

A living trust must name someone as “successor trustee”, who will distribute trust property to the beneficiaries after your death. The most common choices include sons and daughters, a relative or close friend. Also common, the successor trustee is often also a beneficiary. Discussions should always be had with a potential successor trustee to ensure they are happy to adopt such responsibility.

Another consideration here is to choose the adults who will take responsibility for any property inherited by youngsters. These adults are appointed as property guardians, under a law called the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA).

The trust document can be created easily with the help of The relevant questions, required information and forms gathers all the necessary information and produces the living trust document. This is then signed by you (and also your partner if you have a shared trust). The trust is then notarized.

You must transfer title of property to yourself as a trustee, and this is a step that is widely missed. For the living trust to be effective, you must hold title to trust property, and must be named as trustee.

Once all of the above considerations and tasks are completed, the trust document must be stored safely, either by a court or government agency, electronic platforms or a small fireproof home safe. It is also advisable to ensure the successor trustee knows where the document is and how to access it when needed.