A trust is a legal instrument that allows a trustee to hold legal title to someone else’s property—who identified as the beneficiary. You can even be the trustee of your own trust, which allows you complete control over all the property held in that trust. A living trust (an inter vivos trust) refers to a trust you create while you’re alive—instead of one that is created at your death and under the terms of your Will. One of the main benefits of living trust spares your family the cost and delay of going through probate court upon your death.
Missouri’s Probate Process
Because Missouri doesn’t employ the simplified probate process that’s known as the Uniform Probate Code, it’s in your best interest to create a living trust in avoidance of the state’s complex probate system. While a living trust expedites the process, you still need a Will, which represents your official backup plan. Without a Will, any property that isn’t represented in your living trust—or via another means—will be divided among your closest relatives in accordance with Missouri’s laws.
Reducing Estate Tax?
Typically, a basic living trust doesn’t affect any federal estate tax that applies. While there are more complex trusts that can reduce such taxes, these tools generally apply only to the wealthiest. Further, federal estate taxes apply only to those estates that weigh in at more than $5 million.
Your Missouri Living Trust
If you’re considering a living trust—or think it might be right for your family—it’s time to consult with an experienced Missouri estate planning attorney. Your dedicated lawyer will guide you through the process of creating a trust document that designates you as trustee of the property you put in trust and that designates exactly whom will inherit that property. As with most legal issues, the process is exacting, and because you want to get it right, it’s in your and your family’s best interests to hire an experienced Missouri estate planning attorney.
How to Form a Living Trust in Missouri
Forming a living trust in Missouri is a complicated process. To ensure that yours adequately reflects your wishes, however, the best practice is to employ experienced legal counsel. The basics include that you—as the trust creation—place property into the trust and identify the beneficiaries of the trust. In addition, you can place certain restriction or conditions on when and how the beneficiaries will receive trust distributions, ensuring that your hard-earned assets do not go to waste in the future.
If You Have Questions About Forming a Missouri Trust, Consult a Skilled St. Louis and St. Charles Area Estate Planning Attorney Today
A trust represents an important estate planning tool, and at the Law Offices of Kenneth P. Carp in St. Louis and St. Charles, we’re prepared to help you create a trust that best serves your and your family’s unique situation. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at (636) 947-3600 today.