Estate plans include legal documents describing your intentions for distributing your assets to heirs after your death. As noted by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, you may create a living trust to help your heirs bypass the lengthy probate procedure.
While you may choose to serve as the trustee while alive, you could also appoint someone as a co-trustee to help you manage your assets and affairs. In case of an emergency or illness, your co-trustee may take over your business and financial matters.
What could a trustee do while I am alive or after my death?
A trust requires written instructions for preserving your assets now and in the future. Your trustee must adhere to your plans for handling your investments, real estate and life insurance policies.
You may also include a power of attorney and name your trustee as your health care proxy. If you become ill, your proxy may communicate your wishes for receiving medical treatment. After death, your trustee typically manages assets and distributes them as you requested.
When may I add assets to a living trust?
After executing your living trust, you may fund it by transferring your money, collectibles, retirement accounts and properties to it. When reviewing your property titles, you may decide whether to retitle them from your name to your trust’s name.
Because a living trust is revocable, you may add or remove assets while alive. Upon your death, however, a living trust becomes irrevocable and may not change. Your trustee may control the remaining assets held within the trust as your instructions specify.
A living trust offers flexibility in managing your assets while alive. By naming a trustee, you may appoint an individual to assist you with your financial, legal and health care matters.