Avoiding Stumbles With ‘Living’ Trusts

An article in today’s Wall Street Journal discusses the importance of funding your revocable trust – often referred to as your “living trust.” Trusts are a fantastic tool to aid in administration of your assets in case of disability, illness, or death.

They are also used to minimize or avoid probate at your death when necessary. The Times points out that in certain situations, with careful planning, a trust may not be necessary to avoid probate upon your death. It also points out that many individuals set up living trusts but fail to properly follow through with properly funding their trusts. It is important to understand that a trust will only allow you to avoid probate at your death if it is properly funded. Funding is the process of naming your trust as the owner of various assets. The lesson here: follow through with properly funding your trust; otherwise, you will lose out on all of the advantages it offers.

A note of caution: Because there are tax reasons not to transfer ownership of certain assets to a trust, it is best to consult with your attorney in determining what assets to title to your trust and what assets are best left in your name, with proper beneficiary designations being made.

For more information, please contact Melisa M. W. Mysliwiec, mmysliwiec@fraswerlawfirm.com, 616.301.0800 or 800.748.0436.

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