The Trust Attorneys at Clarity Legal Group® help residents of Durham, Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Cary, and surrounding areas plan for some of the most critical issues they face. Everybody needs an estate plan, but not everyone needs the same estate plan. Working with an experienced Trust Attorney can help ensure that you get the plan you need, rather than just a set of cookie cutter documents.
Comprehensive estate planning covers not only what happens at death, but what happens in the event of your incapacity; not only who inherits from you, but how to provide asset protection for those people; not only what legal documents you should have, but how your assets should be owned to work with those legal documents. In effect, estate planning is about organizing your affairs, anticipating the tools you or those you care about may need to accomplish your goals, and making sure that those tools are properly in place. An experienced Trust Attorney will help you define your goals and implement the tools necessary to accomplish those goals.
The overriding questions in estate planning relate to effective management of your affairs: how should your property be managed during your life, your possible incapacity, at death, and possibly for those who inherit from you?
One of the most valuable management tools is the Living Trust. Many people can benefit from creating a living trust because of its versatility, its powerful characteristics as a tool for managing assets, and its flexibility in accomplishing goals including effective control of assets, privacy, cost control and asset protection.
Experienced Living Trust Attorneys, such as the team at Clarity Legal Group®, can work with you to make a personalized plan for trust creation and in the process help you to determine how a living trust can best be used for you as a tool for accomplishing your goals. Experienced Trust Attorneys can show you which assets should be managed through the trust, how can the trust provide divorce proction or asset protection for those who inherit from you, and how will the trust work to allow someone of your choice to manage your assets in the event of incapacity.
How can a Living Trust work for You?
Living Trusts are not all the same and can be used to accomplished many difference goals. The decision of how to use a living trust in your plan depends upon what you hope to accomplish. A living trust can:
- Make it easier for assets to transfer to heirs or beneficiaries
- Allow you to specify who should control your assets if something happens to you
- Allow you to keep the transfer of wealth private
- Reduce the cost of administering your estate through probate avoidance
- Reduce the time need for administering your estate
- Facilitate the efficient sale of real estate after your death
- Make mangagement of financial accounts easier in the event of incapacity
- Provide flexibility in managing your wealth
- Provide asset protection and divorce protection for those who inherit from you
However, there are also limitations to what a living trust can do. For example, a living trust cannot:
- Protect assets if you need to go into a nursing home
- Protect assets from your creditors
- Reduce your tax obligations
Most of our clients benefit from the use of a living trust and we consider its appropriateness for all of our estate planning clients. Because a living trust does not require you to give up control over assets held in the trust, you are still considered to be the owner of the assets and you maintain complete control over the property during your life.
Although the assets in the living trust pass outside of probate, the trust assets are still going to be considered a part of your taxable estate and your estate will thus still have to pay any estate tax due. However, remember that your Living Trust can contain subtrusts for the people who inherit from you, including your spouse, and these subtrusts can be structured to avoid estate taxes and provide asset protection.
Of course, there are a lot of other kinds of trusts which are appropriate for specific goals such as asset protection, tax planning or Medicaid planning. If you have these concerns, ask your attorney how trust planning with trusts other than the Living Trust might apply.
The Living Trust is one of many tools which are part of a good estate plan. Planning isn’t easy, should be informed by someone experienced with estate and trust administration, and should never be treated as a cookie cutter process in which your particular concerns are not specifically addressed.
Getting Help from Durham Living Trust Lawyers
Chapel Hill/Durham living trust lawyers at Clarity Legal Group® will assist you in identifying your goals for protecting your assets and your loved ones and in determining if creating a living trust is the right way for you to accomplish these goals.
The Trust Attorneys at Clarity Legal Group® will help you define your goals, educate you about your options, advise you about best approaches for meeting your goals, create your legal documents, and ensure they are properly implemented and your trust properly funded. The Living Trust is just one of many estate planning tools. We work to make sure you and your family have all the tools they will need. To find out more about how our firm can provide personalized assistance to you, give us a call at 919-484-0012 or contact us online today.
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