What is a Trust?
There are many types of trusts from which you can choose. The most appropriate will depend directly on your financial situation, family dynamics, and goals for your assets. Let attorney Michelle Abrams in Las Vegas and Henderson help you develop an estate plan that is right for you. As a lawyer with more than 20 years of experience, I am well-equipped to advise you on which type of trust will best accomplish your goals. Call me at (702)369-3724 to set up a free initial consultation today.
The Advantages Of A Living Trust
In a living trust, you and your spouse maintain control over the assets you place in the trust. You, as the grantor or creator of the trust, can amend, revoke or alter the trust at any time. This type of control allows you to freely use the assets of your trust, free of interference from anyone.
Once you have decided to use a living trust in your estate plan, you should likely transfer all of your assets (with a few exceptions) into the name of the trust to ensure that none of the assets are subject to probate upon your death.
The Role Of A Successor Trustee
When a living trust has been properly drafted and funded, the assets will escape probate and can be transferred to beneficiaries without the assistance of an executor or administrator. However, someone will be named a “successor trustee.”
The successor trustee is very similar to an executor or administrator for a probate estate, except that the successor trustee is not required to administer the trust with court supervision. Rather, the successor trustee is provided with authority and broad powers to distribute the assets of the trust after a death. During your lifetime, you and your spouse may act as the sole trustees.
Following your deaths, an individual or corporate trustee you have chosen to serve in your stead will carry out your dispositive wishes. This successor trustee will carry out the duties and responsibilities of the executor or administrator, such as filing tax returns, disbursing assets to beneficiaries, paying creditor claims, inventorying assets, etc.
The administration of a trust is a role that has many responsibilities. Depending on the type of assets in the trust, a trustee may be tasked with:
- Contacting and advising beneficiaries
- Distributing assets
- Investing the assets in the trust
- Paying off debts and notifying creditors
- Filing and paying taxes
During the administration of a trust, disputes may arise between the trustee and the beneficiaries of the trust. This can occur if there is a disagreement or concern regarding the terms of the trust. The issues that arise can be complex, and the assistance of an attorney is often necessary to achieve an effective resolution. Litigation is common when there are allegations of fraud or forgery, claims of undue influence or questions regarding the mental competency of the grantor.