According to a 2017 survey by Caring.com, only about 42% of American adults have a living trust, will, or estate plan in place. Distributing the estate or settling the final affairs of the deceased without a valid trust, will, or estate planning document can be very complicated. Regardless of how large or small your estate is, having a properly drafted living trust is important to protect your assets and loved ones upon your death or when you become debilitated suddenly.
Effective estate planning requires the knowledge of an experienced Ohio estate planning attorney. At Peterson & Peterson, we are committed to offering comprehensive guidance in matters of wills, living trusts, and estate planning. We will review your options and help you determine the plan that best suits your needs and that of your family.
Peterson & Peterson proudly serves clients throughout Xenia, Ohio, and the surrounding communities of Beavercreek, Bellbrook, Clark County, Warren County, Greene County, Springfield, and Lebanon.
A trust can be described as a fiduciary relationship whereby a person (guarantor) appoints another person (trustee) to handle their final affairs and distribute assets to beneficiaries and heirs upon their death. A trust usually contains all the estate's assets, including real estate property, investments, business interests, savings, and bank accounts.
Furthermore, a living trust is used to avoid having your estate go through probate (the legal process of transferring your estate) upon your death. Thus, saving your loved ones both time and expense. Upon the estate's death or sudden incapacitation, the appointed trustee will step in and administer the estate in accordance with the provisions outlined in the trust.
There are generally two main types of trusts – revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts.
Revocable Trusts: A revocable trust (also known as a living trust) is a trust that can be changed or canceled by the guarantor. The guarantor keeps the benefit of all properties included in the trust during his or her lifetime.
Irrevocable Trusts: In an irrevocable trust, the guarantor relinquishes control over the assets or property placed in the trust in order to avoid paying taxes on them. However, assets placed in an irrevocable trust can't be modified or revoked.
The steps to create a living trust in Ohio involve:
Determining whether to create an individual or shared trust.
Identifying the assets and property you want to include in the trust.
Choosing a successor trustee.
Deciding who will be the beneficiaries of the trust property.
Hiring an attorney to help you create the trust document.
Signing the document in front of a notary public.
A trust is only effective where it follows the requirements of the law. Failing to have legal counsel assist in the process may lead to conflict and invalidation.
There are several benefits of having a trust as part of an estate plan including:
Bypass Probate: The primary advantage of making a living trust is to bypass probate. This will save your surviving loved ones from the expense and delays involved in probate court proceedings after your death.
Choose a Successor Trustee: Trusts allow you to choose a trusted person (or successor trustee) who will manage your estate and oversee distribution to beneficiaries when you die or become suddenly incapacitated.
Consideration for Minors: Assets can be kept in trust until a future date. For example, when a minor beneficiary reaches a certain age.
Adequate Protection: With a living trust, you can provide the needed protection to your assets in the event of mental incapacitation.
Keep Things Private: A trust doesn't become public record like a will. All the terms are contained in a private document. Hence, assets can be distributed to beneficiaries without the publicity of probate court.
It's never too early to plan for an unpredictable future. Should you become unable to voice your opinion, your family will benefit from knowing your wishes. An experienced Ohio trusts attorney can help you determine the estate planning option that best fits your needs.
At Peterson & Peterson, we are dedicated to offering comprehensive guidance and assistance to clients in all matters of estate planning, trusts, and wills. We have the knowledge and resources required to diligently guide you through the process and help you navigate key decisions. Our team will evaluate your unique situation and help devise an effective plan for you and your family.
As your legal counsel, we will assist you in drafting your trust and personal estate plans. Likewise, we can help appointed trustees in trust administration We will also educate you and determine how best to help you achieve your objectives for transferring your assets, property, and wealth to your heirs and beneficiaries. Our team will work thoughtfully to address your needs and concerns, as well as those of your surviving loved ones and dependents.
If you are considering drawing up a living trust and want to understand how estate planning works, contact Peterson & Peterson today to schedule a free one-on-one consultation. Our attorneys can offer you the comprehensive legal guidance and advocacy you need to navigate key decisions. We are proud to serve clients throughout Xenia, Beavercreek, Bellbrook, Clark County, Warren County, Greene County, Springfield, and Lebanon, Ohio.