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A Trust is a contract between three parties: 1) the Trustor or Grantor (the person creating the trust); 2) the Trustee (the person holding title to the property of the Trustor); and 3) the Beneficiary(ies). Unlike an LLC or Corporation, a Trust is not a separate legal entity. It is essentially a set of rules the set out how the Trustee is to hold the assets for the benefit of the Beneficiary(ies). The Trustor sets the rules. Trusts can have many different benefits, but are a complex planning technique that is not appropriate for everyone.
Yes. During the life of the Trustor, the Trust can be amended or terminated whenever the Trustor wants. That means the Trust can be changed to evolve with your family and financial circumstances. Once the Trustor has died, the Trust becomes irrevocable and generally cannot be changed without a Court Order.
If you do not appoint a Guardian in a Will, or some other writing executed with the same formalities of a Will, then your family will be able to petition the Clerk for Guardianship – but in that event, the Clerk will have no context or background for your kids or your family, so the person you may not have intended to be the Guardian may end up being appointed Guardian by the Clerk.
There are really three potential costs associated with Probate:
• The filing and notice fees (usually $120 and $115-130 depending on the newspaper),
• The Probate fee (0.4% of probate assets up to $6,000), and
• The Attorney’s Fee for assisting with the Probate proceeding ($1,000 – $10,000, depending on the matter and the Attorney).
No, not usually. A will is often called a “ticket to probate”, meaning that it only governs assets that would normally need to pass through the court process of probate in order to be passed on to the intended beneficiary. The answer to this question largely depends on the assets and beneficiary designations of the testator (the creator of the will) at the time of their death. Wills are not generally probate avoidance tools, though.
Both are created to hold assets for a individual or class or beneficiaries for a variety of reasons – most likely to protect assets from waste and delay gratification for minor or immature beneficiaries. A Testamentary Trust is one that is created at death through your will. It is a direction to the Executor to create a trust if certain conditions are satisfied or not satisfied. For instance, if the intended beneficiary is under a certain age, a direction in the will may create a trust to hold the beneficiary’s share until they reach that certain age. If the beneficiary is already that age or older, the trust would not be created.
A Revocable Living Trust is one that is created during the lifetime of the trust creator is a used to receive all assets of the trust creator, whether by will or by beneficiary designation. This type of trust is generally use in more complex estate plans which require all asset types be governed by a common set of succession and distribution rules.