Avoiding probate is one of the primary goals of many estate plans, and this should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the process. Probate involves proving the validity of a will and administering the estate of a deceased person, which means settling debts, paying taxes, appraising the value of non-liquid assets, and transferring assets to beneficiaries. The process can be extremely time-consuming and expensive, as it often involves settling disputes and paying court, attorney’s, and appraiser’s fees.
Trust Assets Pass Directly to Beneficiaries
While there are many ways to avoid probate, one of the most commonly utilized is placing assets into a living trust, which is simply a trust that is created while a person is alive (as opposed to one that is established in a will). A trust, at its most basic, is an arrangement in which assets are held “in trust” by a trustee for the benefit of a 3rd party, referred to as the beneficiary. The trust-maker is called the “grantor” or “settlor.”
A person can be the trustee of his or her own living trust in Missouri, but you can also name another person to act as trustee. Many married people choose to act as co-trustees, as management of the trust will simply pass to the other spouse should one pass away or become incapacitated without court involvement.
One of the main benefits of placing assets into a trust is that the assets in the trust pass directly to the beneficiaries upon the occurrence of a particular event (when the grantor passes away, for example) without them having to go through probate. Some of the types of assets commonly transferred via trusts include the following:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts
- Personal property
- Intellectual property
- Valuable collections
- Business interests
Call a St. Louis Estate Planning Attorney Today to Discuss Whether a Trust Is Appropriate for You
Placing your assets into a trust is an excellent way to save your family or other beneficiaries time and money when the time comes. To learn more about trust creation, schedule a consultation with Kenneth P. Carp today by calling 636-947-3600 or send us an email through our online contact form.