If you have minor children, a child with special needs, or you want to reduce your estate taxes, then you should consider setting up a trust. Trusts provide a viable place for your assets to be housed during your life. Instead of transferring the assets individually upon your death, they stay in the trust to be managed according to your final wishes.
A trust must be set up properly to ensure that it will accomplish its intended purpose after your passing. Avoid making these simple mistakes when setting up your own trust in the future.
Select the Right Trustee
When you set up a trust to house your assets as part of your estate planning process, you need to appoint a trustee. The trustee is the individual who will oversee the administration of the assets in the trust and the dispersal of the assets after your passing.
You want a trustee that has knowledge of financial and estate laws so that your loved ones can avoid problems when trying to access their inheritance. An independent trustee will serve as an impartial administrator.
A lawyer, bank, or investment manager with no ties to the benefits within the trust all have the experience needed to serve as a trustee. Select one of these individuals to oversee your trust for maximum protection.
Review Your Trust Often
It's not enough to just set up a trust as part of the estate planning process, you need to ensure that you revisit the trust on a regular basis to ensure it still meets your needs. Changes in life circumstances can require changes to the structure of your trust.
You should always update your trust when you have a new child, get married or divorced, or acquire additional assets that you want to protect through transference into the trust. You don't want to pass away while your trust is not up to date, since the terms of the trust will be legally binding.
Specify Your Beneficiaries
You may be surprised to learn that one of the biggest mistakes people make in setting up a trust is failing to name a beneficiary. The assets within your trust can only be accessed by the trustee, and the trustee will only access these assets to distribute them to the beneficiaries you have named.
You need to appoint all beneficiaries when setting up your trust, then continue to review and revise the beneficiary list throughout the life of the trust. Contact a probate attorney for more help.