Estate Planning Lawyer
Determining which kinds of documents you need to create to prepare your assets and take care of your loved ones can be tricky. Many people have heard of a will and may automatically think it is the best option when determining which beneficiaries get which assets and what to do with your estate. However, a living trust can also be an extremely helpful document to create in place of, or in addition to, a will. Like a will, a living trust is not hard to create, and you do not need to retain the help of an attorney to make the trust a legally binding document. Below, you will find answers to frequently asked questions about trusts, information at the end to speak with an attorney if you require any further assistance.
What Is a Living Trust And How Is It Different Than a Will?
A living trust is a document that is created during the lifetime of the person. Instead of writing a document that leaves everything to beneficiaries after you pass away, a living trust goes into effect while you are still alive. Thus, if you name a trustee in your living trust, you then transfer the title to your property away from you and on to the name of the trustee. When this happens, the trustee of the property is the owner of said property, but that does not mean you have no power. In fact, you can set yourself up as the first trustee in line so that you can still manage and control your property, or even leave it alone.
Can I Update My Living Trust?
Yes! You can and you should, if the circumstances arise. Common examples of when it would be appropriate for you to update your living trust:
- You have a child
- You marry or divorce
- One of the beneficiaries or trustees in your trust dies
- The status of your finances significantly changes
When in doubt, you can speak with an attorney on whether it is appropriate to update your living trust, but you want to make sure your living trust is as up-to-date as possible.
What Should I Do If I Still Owe Money On My Property?
Even if you still owe money on your property (for example, your house that still has a mortgage), you can still put it in your trust. However, the trustee who is responsible for your house will also be responsible for the remaining debt when they take charge of the property.
Should I Still Create a Will?
This depends, but a living trust may not include all your property, so creating a will can complement this. If you purchased the property after you created your trust and did not transfer it into your trust, you can add this property into your will to be properly distributed. Additionally, your will allows you to name someone as legal guardian over your minor children and your trust cannot do this.
If you have any further questions or would like to speak with an living trust lawyer Phoenix, AZ about creating your living trust, please reach out to a law firm today. It is never too soon to prepare for your future!
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into estate planning and living trusts.