If you create a living trust, you are opting to serve as grantor, trustee, and beneficiary for the trust for the remainder of your lifetime. You are a grantor if you create the trust, which is the case if you creating any type of trust, not just a living trust. A trustee is the person who is in charge of the trust assets. In a living trust, you remain trustee until a certain event occurs, which usually is your incapacitation or death. A beneficiary is the individual or individuals whom you have chosen to receive the trust assets after your passing. Therefore, during your lifetime, you have complete control over the trust assets and can withdraw them, spend them, or leave them in the trust; the choice is completely up to you.
One of the most attractive features of a living trust is the fact that it allows you to retain total control over and responsibility for your assets, but also allows you to transfer your assets after death and bypass the probate process. When an estate is admitted to probate, it can take months to resolve and typically is administered under court supervision. If all of your assets are owned by a living trust, the probate process is unnecessary, making the transfer of your assets a much quicker, easier, and cheaper process.
Another advantage of the living trust is your ability to provide lifetime asset protection for your beneficiaries. For instance, if you have a son that does not manage money well, you can place restrictions on the amount of money that he can receive from the trust at one time, or restrictions on how he can use the money, such as only for medical or educational expenses. You also can build protections into a trust that protect your assets from a beneficiary’s divorce, bankruptcy, or creditors. This allows you to preserve the trust assets and ensure that they do not go to debt collectors or your beneficiary’s estranged spouse.
Legacy Law Center handles all facets of estate planning for clients on a daily basis. Whether you are interested in a simple will or a more complex trust, we are here to present all of your options for estate planning and help you make the decisions that are best for you and your family. Take the first step today and contact us to schedule a meeting with one of our Michigan estate planning attorneys.
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