Regardless of the value of your estate, you must plan for what will happen to your assets while you are still alive and when you die. An experienced McKinney estate planning attorney can help you create a living trust which can ensure your assets are distributed quickly, avoid unnecessary taxes, and keep your wishes private. Before you write a living trust, your attorney will let you consider the following tips:
Create a List of your Assets
Your list should include everything you own. These include tangible items such as your house, car, and jewelry as well as intangible ones such as bonds, stocks, and life insurance policies. This list will help you get a clear picture of your estate and decide how you would want to distribute them when you die. Also, ensure you have all of the paperwork such as titles, stock certificates, deeds, and life insurance policies in order. You will need to hand these documents to your lawyer to prepare your living trust. You may not want to hold all your property in your living trust. Consider including just the big-ticket items that would otherwise go through probate.
Pick Your Beneficiaries
You must name the people who will receive assets when you die before you write your living trust. Your beneficiaries can include family members, friends, or charities. Also, take into account the people you don’t want to receive anything. Discuss this with your lawyer.
Remember that if your insurance policies or retirement or saving accounts have beneficiaries named, these may conflict with your plans regarding your living trust. Make sure to discuss this with your attorney to prevent your beneficiaries from facing legal battles after your death.
Pick a Successor Trustee
In a living trust, you serve as the trustee, so you continuously take control of your assets during your lifetime. But, you need to have a successor trustee who will pay your debts and distribute your assets based on your instructions after you die. Also, should you be incapacitated, your chosen successor trustee would also handle your affairs. After you make your choice, discuss it with your chosen individual to ensure they are willing to take on this responsibility.
Pick a Person Who Will Manage your Property for your Young Children
If you have children or young adults who you want to inherit your property, you must pick an adult to manage what they will inherit. You can make them a property guardian, a trustee, or a property custodian, so they can have authority over a child’s property.