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5 Steps to Making a Living Trust

Roselle and Schaumburg Wills and Trusts Lawyer: 5 Steps to Making a Living Trust

A living trust is a perfect document for protecting privacy, avoiding probate, and determining who can take care of your affairs while you’re incapacitated and after you’ve passed on. It’s often an essential element for estate plans in Roselle and Schaumburg as it gives an extra layer of protection to estates and gives the trust maker, also known as the Grantor, added peace of mind that their interests will be protected and their wishes will be carried out. So before you visit a Roselle and Schaumburg wills and trusts attorney to set up your living trust, there are some issues you should start thinking about in order to give yourself the best opportunity to achieve your estate planning goals:

  1. Pick the Goals You Want to Achieve with the Trust

Each person has different needs when it comes to estate planning, and there are many goals that a living trust can help you achieve. For instance, if you want to keep your financial and personal affairs private and avoid a long, drawn out probate proceeding, a living trust will ensure your wishes are met.

 

  1. Determine What Assets You Want Protected By the Trust

Once you’ve planned your goals, you will want to decide which assets you’d like to place in a trust. Many people will put their house in the trust since it is their most valuable asset and will likely put them over the threshold when determining whether their estate will go through a large or small probate process. In addition, you may want to consider which financial accounts should go into the trust (typically those held solely in your name) and which should stay out.

  1. Decide Who Will Act as Successor Trustee
    A successor trustee will not only be responsible for the administration of the trust estate once you pass on, but may also be called on to handle your affairs if you become incapacitated, or possibly if you do not want the responsibility of handling your own affairs at a certain point. The successor trustee may also be in charge of managing any property or assets left to minors in your trust, so it is important that you choose someone with a keen financial acumen who you can trust to carry out your wishes.

 

  1. Choose Your Beneficiaries
    It’s your decision as to whom you want to leave a financial legacy for in your living trust, and it’s something that you must think about very carefully. If you make a choice to omit a family member from your estate plan who would otherwise expect to receive an inheritance from you, it may be a good idea to leave behind an explanation of your wishes concerning the matter.
  2. Hire an Experienced Roselle and Schaumburg Wills and Trusts Lawyer to Draft Your Trust
    There are a lot of do-it-yourself programs and cheap alternatives available for creating a living trust, but unfortunately, these documents are often inadequate and will not hold up under probate court scrutiny. That’s why it’s important to research experienced wills and trusts attorneys in Roselle and Schaumburg to draft your trust so you have peace of mind knowing that it’s done correctly and your wishes will be carried out.

If you have any questions about setting up a living trust, or if you’d like to have your existing living trust reviewed in order to make sure it is set up properly for your situation, please give our Roselle and Schaumburg wills and trusts firm, Haugh Law Group, a call at 630-908-2752 to set up a consultation.

Moving Assets into a Trust with a Wills and Trusts Lawyer in Cook County

One of the most complex aspects of a Cook County wills and trust lawyer’s job is making sure that a trust is properly funded. While the attorney will be able to do much of the work on behalf of the client, there are a number of documents that are needed in order to transfer assets into the trust. Each of these documents serves to ensure that the asset has been accounted for and that ownership of it has been transferred from the client to the trust.

In order to smooth this complicated process, the wills and trusts lawyer supplies clients with a list of what needs to be collected. Not every item on the list will apply to each client, but by going through and gathering the documentation that is relevant, an individual can speed up the process and make sure that their assets, as well as their businesses, heirs, and personal lifestyle, are fully protected.   Some of that information includes, but is not limited to:

Real Property

  • Any recorded deed for property owned by the individual
  • Copies of title and/or homeowner’s insurance policies
  • Copy of the most recent property tax bill for any real property owned by the individual
  • Deeds of trust, mortgages, and promissory notes
  • Vehicle registrations, including mobile homes

Financial Statements

  • Checking and savings accounts
  • Money market accounts
  • Credit union accounts
  • Safe deposit boxes
  • Investments, mutual funds, and dividend reinvestments
  • Certificates of deposit
  • Original savings bonds or treasury notes
  • College tuition and savings programs

Specific Assets or Credits

  • Original copies of publicly traded securities held as certificates
  • Deeds of trust, promissory notes, mortgages, or other financing statement held by the individual
  • Shareholder agreements
  • Original stock certificates
  • Trust agreements when the individual is a beneficiary
  • Deeds/Contracts for burial plots
  • Financials and contracts for annuities
  • Pension plans, IRAs, 401(k), deferred compensation, etc.

Business Documents

  • Closely held business or professional association – corporate books
  • Partnership agreements for general or limited partnerships
  • Operating agreement for LLCs
  • List of assets for sole proprietorships owned by the individual

While gathering each of these documents can be a time-consuming process, it is an important part of working with the wills and trusts lawyer in Cook County in laying the right foundation for your trust. Each of the items above may be used to fund the trust, and therefore a change of title, beneficiary designations, or other aspect may be in order. There are some pitfalls that can cause difficulties or delays, so getting a quick start will bring about a quicker end! Your Cook County wills and trusts lawyer will have solid advice and suggestions on how best to track down this vital information.