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St. Louis Revocable Living Trust Attorney

Why We Recommend Living Trusts For Our Clients

Effective estate plans should include a living trust, or revocable trust, agreement depending on the individual circumstances. This agreement, by definition, permits alterations while you are alive, but becomes irrevocable upon your death.

At TdD Attorneys at Law LLC in St. Louis, our lawyers understand the complexities involved with deciding how to divide your estate. Let our team help you develop a holistic estate plan that may include a will, a power of attorney, health care declaration and a living trust that allows you to maintain control of your assets.

Why Choose TdD Attorneys at Law LLC?

  • Our attorneys have over 20 years of estate planning experience. We know what it takes to create a trust and will walk you through all of your options so that you can make a comprehensive plan for your future.
  • Our firm will take the time to understand your unique wishes so that you can develop a strategic estate plan. We will work to help you find the best options for your situation.
  • When you hire our firm, you gain a legal partner for life. Our firm will be available to help you navigate complex estate planning matters, including revocable trusts and beyond.

What Is a Living Trust in Missouri?

A living trust is a legal arrangement that is used to protect and distribute assets. There are three parties involved in a living trust:

  • The grantor, who establishes the trust during his or her lifetime
  • The trustee, an individual or entity who holds the assets for the grantor
  • The beneficiary or beneficiaries, to whom the assets will be awarded upon the grantor’s death

Living trusts can be revocable, which means that they can be changed by the grantor at any time. Assets can be added or removed, beneficiaries can be changed, and the grantor can even cancel the trust entirely. They can also be irrevocable, meaning that the grantor relinquishes control of the trust to the trustee. Often, living trusts become irrevocable upon the grantor’s death.

With a living trust in place, the grantor can help his or her family members avoid the probate process following his or her death. Probate is the process of distributing a person’s assets according to the terms of the will, which can be lengthy, costly, and complex. Living trusts allow you to bypass this process and award assets to the beneficiaries.

Benefits of a Living Trust

A properly drafted living trust agreement can provide the following benefits:

  • Avoidance of probate court: A living trust will spare your family members the pain and frustration of dividing your assets in court. Additionally, this provision allows the distribution of your assets to remain private.
  • Estate taxes minimized or avoided: This benefit allows you to allocate your estate’s assets in a manner which takes the maximum advantage of estate tax exemptions.
  • Substantial control over the distribution of assets: Allows you to maintain complete control over who receives your estate’s assets and how much they receive.
  • Avoidance of court conservatorship: In the unfortunate event that you become disabled or incapacitated, this allows you to pre-appoint a trustee to manage your affairs. Without a trustee, your family could endure the expensive and frustrating process of working through probate court.

With our experienced attorneys in your corner, you can tailor your living trust to suit your unique needs. Additionally, our lawyers can advise you on optimal options to achieve goals such as contributing to a favorite charity or helping to secure care for your surviving special needs children.

When Will Your Immediate Successor Trustee’s Responsibilities Start and Stop?

The responsibilities of an immediate successor trustee who is named in a revocable living will typically start when you pass away or become incapacitated. You can determine the specific timing based on the language of the trust. The trustee’s responsibilities will stop when all of the assets or property within the trust have been distributed to beneficiaries and all other terms of the trust have been fulfilled.

What Are the Responsibilities of the Successor Trustee?

With a revocable living trust, the responsibilities of an immediate successor trustee depend on whether the grantor has passed away or is still living but has become incapacitated, as well as the terms of the trust. When the grantor of the living trust passes away, the successor trustee is responsible for distributing the assets the trust holds in accordance with the grantor’s instructions.

Note that the successor trustee is legally obligated to administer the trust based on what is in the best interests of the grantor’s beneficiaries. The trustee cannot act for his or her own benefit unless the Declaration of Trust specifically authorizes it. If the grantor is incapacitated but still living, the trustee’s responsibilities may include using the trust property to provide for the care and comfort of the grantor and the grantor’s family.

Differences Between a Living Trust and a Will

A living trust and a will are both estate planning tools that can help you protect your hard-earned assets after your death. The key difference between them is when they go into effect. A will becomes effective upon the death of the grantor, while a living trust is effective immediately upon its creation, during the lifetime of the grantor.

Another difference is that assets held in a living trust can bypass the probate process after the grantor’s death, while assets distributed through a will must go through probate. Probate can be a time-consuming and expensive legal process. Having a living will can allow for a faster, easier and more efficient transfer of the grantor’s assets. A living trust can be kept private while a will becomes public through probate.

Should You Create a Living Trust?

A living trust is not appropriate for everyone. For some, a will is sufficient to meet their needs and efficiently distribute their assets. There are some cases, however, where a living trust is in your best interests:

  • You Want to Minimize Your Estate Tax: By placing assets in a living trust, you can reduce the amount of estate tax levied on your property. As a result, more of your property can be passed directly to your beneficiaries, not the government.
  • You Want to Avoid Probate: Probate is a lengthy and stressful process, especially after a loved one’s death. If you own property in multiple states, you might need to go through probate in each state. By establishing a living trust, you can bypass probate and automatically transfer property to your beneficiaries.

What Is the Process for Creating and Funding a Trust?

It is important to take the correct actions to create and fund a living trust to ensure that it is properly established and will protect your assets when it comes into effect. First, you should consult with an estate planning attorney. Starting the process with a legal consultation can help you understand your goals and confirm whether a living trust is appropriate for your needs.

Next, with help from your attorney, you will draft the Declaration of Trust document. This legal document will outline the terms of your revocable living trust, designate the trustee and beneficiaries, and list the powers and responsibilities of the trustee. Once signed in front of a notary public, the trust will become active.

The final step is funding the living trust, or transferring assets and property into the trust. This process will vary based on the type of property. You may need to transfer ownership of the property or obtain a new title showing the living trust as the owner. You can also work with your bank to title bank accounts in your trust.

How a St. Louis Revocable Living Trust Attorney Can Help You

It is possible to prepare a revocable trust on your own. You will, however, need to ensure that you meet several requirements. Some cases are also highly complex and require additional legal considerations, such as when you have large amounts of life insurance or you need help transferring assets into the trust.

When you hire an attorney to make a living trust, you gain a legal advocate who will guide you through each stage of the process and create a comprehensive estate strategy on your behalf. At TdD Attorneys at Law LLC, our firm will leverage our skills and experience to protect your assets.

Call Our St. Louis Revocable Living Trust Attorneys Now

Call TdD Attorneys at Law LLC in St. Louis today and attain peace of mind. Our St. Louis estate planning lawyers in St. Louis will advise you of your options during a consultation. Schedule one today by calling (314) 276-1318. You can also contact us online.