A Checklist to Help You Make a Living Trust
Are you interested in setting up a living trust? Below is a quick step-by-step guide to help ensure you don’t forget anything important:
- Decide on a shared or individual trust: If you’re married and own most of your property with your spouse, it might make more sense for you to go with a shared trust.
- Choose the property you will transfer to the trust: In most cases, you will not want to hold all property in the trust — just the especially valuable items that would otherwise be subject to the probate process.
- Choose your trust beneficiaries: Typically, these beneficiaries will be family members or friends, but you can also create trusts to benefit charities or other individuals. Be sure to choose alternate beneficiaries in case one of your primary beneficiaries passes away before he or she can inherit.
- Choose a trustee: You will serve as the trustee so long as you are alive, but after you pass away, you will need another trustee to manage the trust assets and ensure their proper distribution. You could choose a child, relative or close friend to be your trustee, or someone with more separation from your estate. You may name a beneficiary as your trustee.
- Prep the document: Work with an attorney to develop a trust document that does not have any legal loopholes. This will make the process easier on your beneficiaries after you pass away.
- Sign and notarize: Sign the document in front of a notary public to ensure the trust is legally binding.
- Transfer title of property: If your trust is to be effective, the property in it must be held in your name as the trustee. This is an important step that people often forget to take, and it could render the trust useless.
- Store your document: Keep the trust document in a safe place, such as in a fireproof safe or safe deposit box. It’s also a good idea to keep a copy with your attorney and to let your successor trustee know how he or she can find a copy when needed.
For more information and guidance on establishing a living trust, work with a dedicated Florida estate planning lawyer at The Charles Law Offices.