Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, a will may not be the best plan for you and your family. That’s primarily because a will does not avoid probate when you die. A will must be validated by the probate court before it can be enforced. Also, because a will can only go into effect after you die,…

If you and your spouses are co-trustees, either can act and have instant control if one becomes incapacitated or dies. If something happens to both of you, or if you are the only trustee, the successor trustee you personally selected will step in. If a corporate trustee is already your trustee or co-trustee, they will…

You may decide to be the trustee of your trust. However, some people select a corporate trustee (bank or trust company) to act as trustee or co-trustee now, especially if they don’t have the time, ability or desire to manage their trusts, or if one or both spouses are ill. Corporate trustees are experienced investment…

It will take some time — but you can do it now, or you can pay the courts and attorneys to do it for you later. One of the benefits of a living trust is that all of your assets are brought together under one plan. Don’t delay “funding” your trust; it can only protect assets that have been transferred into…

No, and your attorney, trust officer, financial adviser and insurance agent can help. Typically, you will change titles on real estate, stocks, CDs, bank accounts, investments, insurance and other assets with titles. Most living trusts also include jewelry, clothes, art, furniture, and other assets that do not have titles.

Absolutely not. You keep full control. As trustee of your trust, you can do anything you could do before — buy and sell assets, change or even cancel your trust. That’s why it’s called a revocableliving trust. You even file the same tax returns. Nothing changes but the names on the titles.

Not when compared to all of the costs of court interference at incapacity and death. How much you pay will depend primarily on your goals and what you want to accomplish.

Your estate will have to pay federal estate taxes if its net value when you die is more than the “exempt” amount at the time. (Your state may also have its own death or inheritance tax.) If you are married, your living trust can include a provision that will let you and your spouse use…

Unlike a will, a trust doesn’t have to die with you. Assets can stay in your trust, managed by the trustee you selected, until your beneficiaries reach the age(s) you want them to inherit. Your trust can continue longer to provide for a loved one with special needs, or to protect the assets from beneficiaries’…

Successor trustees can be individuals (adult children, other relatives, or trusted friends) and/or a corporate trustee. If you choose an individual, you should also name some additional successors in case your first choice is unable to act.

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