Trusts Attorney in Sumner, Washington
The word “trust” conjures up images of the very wealthy maintaining control of the family fortune even after they die. Trusts, however, are not just for those individuals and families with wealth. Trusts are effective estate planning tools for anybody. Living trusts are one of the many tools that may benefit your estate plan, offering solutions to your unique needs.
Attorney Scott Terry has been helping clients create singular estate plans in Sumner, Puyallup, Auburn, Kent, Bonney Lake, Lake Tapps, and Orting, Washington, as well as King, Pierce, and Thurston counties for more than 30 years. Find out if a living trust is the right estate planning tool for you.
What Are Trusts?
Living trusts are legal agreements involving three parties. First is the trust creator, second is the trustee, and third are the beneficiaries. As the trust creator, you transfer ownership of your assets to the trust to be managed by the trustee for the benefit of the trust's beneficiaries. You will probably want to serve as the trustee first but will name a successor to assume those duties upon your death or if you are no longer mentally capable of managing the trust. During your lifetime, such expenses as taxes are paid by the trust rather than by you personally since you no longer own those taxable assets.
Revocable and irrevocable are the two types of living trusts. With a revocable trust, you can make changes to it throughout your lifetime. For example, you can transfer assets in and out of the trust or change its beneficiaries.
As the name implies, you cannot change an irrevocable trust once you establish it. However, because you cannot, the tax advantages of an irrevocable trust are usually more lucrative than those you may garner with a revocable trust.
You should work with an estate planning attorney to create a trust. Your attorney will be able to guide you through the process of selecting and transferring assets, naming trustees, and designating beneficiaries. You want to make sure that everything complies with Washington law so there will be no problems with the trust during your lifetime and after you are gone.
Why Might Having a Trust Be Important?
You may be wondering how a trust is different from a will. A will directs how you want your estate handled after you die. The assets and debts in a will are subject to probate, which can be an expensive and frustrating process. That said, a will is the required tool for naming a guardian for any minor children. That cannot be done with a trust, so you may need both a will and a living trust.
There are many benefits of a trust. First, living trusts are not subject to probate. That is because the assets belong to the trust and not to you personally. Since they are not subject to probate, they remain confidential and not a matter of public record as is a will.
Second, you can specify that assets of the trust not be given to a beneficiary until a future date. For example, you may not want the assets given to someone until they reach a certain age.
Another benefit of a trust is that it can be designed to take care of you should you become incapacitated. The successor trustee would manage the assets in a way that would provide for your care until you die.
How Do I Choose a Trustee & Beneficiaries?
The choice of a trustee and beneficiaries of the trust is highly personal. However, there are a few considerations you may want to make.
The person you choose to serve as trustee or successor trustee should be someone you trust implicitly. This person will be responsible for managing the assets of the trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries, which could mean managing real estate, a business, and other major assets. You will want to name someone who will manage the trust as you would have managed it.
Choose as beneficiaries of the trust who you want to leave a legacy. They could be individuals related or unrelated to you. You can also name organizations, such as a charity, as a beneficiary of the trust. You can also exclude people from benefiting from the trust, such as a child, parent, or sibling who might otherwise inherit from your estate via the law of intestate succession.
Serving Sumner, Washington
Estate planning is all about caring for yourself while you are alive and caring for others after you pass away. A living trust is a remarkable tool you can use to shape your legacy. For over three decades, Attorney Scott Terry has been proud to help clients from Sumner, Puyallup, and King, Thurston, and Pierce counties in Washington. Reach out to Terry Law Firm, P.S., to set up a one-on-one consultation.