People looking to avoid probate are often advised to create living trusts. The trusts can be excellent instruments and it is important to know what assets to put into them and what assets to leave out.
Probate avoidance is an important goal in many estate plans. While there are many techniques and legal instruments that can be used for the purpose, living trusts are the most popular instrument to avoid probate because of their flexibility and ease of use.
Despite that ease of use, people often get tripped up. They are totally unaware of what must be done so the trust works as intended.
The Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog recently offered some advice about this important step in "Tips To Estate Planners To Avoid Probate With Living Trusts."
The tips include:
- Trusts can only be used to avoid probate when assets are transferred to the trust. That means that ownership must be transferred from the individual to the trust.
- Some property might be exempt from probate by state laws. Accordingly, it is a good idea to check the laws in your state. For example, if cars are exempt from probate in your state, then there is no need to transfer ownership of them to a trust.
- Retirement accounts do not need to be transferred to the trust. By law they will pass to the named beneficiary. Just make sure that the beneficiary designation is up to date.
- Get advice on trust creation from a Cincinnati estate planning attorney to ensure all relevant issues are addressed.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your estate plans or when probating an estate or administering a trust, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage a Cincinnati estate planning attorney.
For more information about estate planning, probate or trust administration in Cincinnati (and throughout the rest of Southwest Ohio) and to review free resources regarding estate planning, probate or trust administration, visit my website. If you have questions regarding this article or a particular legal matter, feel free to contact me at 513-399-PLAN (7526).
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (Jan. 9, 2016) "Tips To Estate Planners To Avoid Probate With Living Trusts."