Individuals in New York who are planning for the distribution of their property after they die may have heard of a revocable trust but be unfamiliar with what is involved in such a document. Another name for a revocable trust is a living trust, and as its name implies, it is created and takes effect while the grantor is still alive. The terms of an irrevocable living trust cannot be changed while those of a revocable trust can.
The court that will have jurisdiction over trust matters does not depend on where the testator of a will creating the trust was domiciled. Similarly, a lifetime trust does not depend on the domicile of the grantor if the contained real property and assets exist in New York.
Individuals in New York who are estate planning should keep in mind that there are a number of common errors that people make with their wills, trusts and other documents and accounts. One of these errors is making an estate plan and failing to return to it for revisions. Such changes as children, marriages, deaths and divorces may result in a needed update, so estate plans should be periodically reviewed.
New Yorkers who want to ensure their possessions are managed properly may rely on wills and similar documents, but living trusts offer an alternative. These structures are notable in that their grantors can name themselves trustees and thus manage the assets they want to safeguard. In addition, other trusts, such as spendthrift trusts, can be included in a living trust so that beneficiaries are explicitly looked after.
Robin Williams fans in New York might be interested to know that his family could be spared the ordeal of going through probate for certain assets. When someone leaves a will, probate courts verify the document and still make decisions regarding the execution of the deceased person's estate. Court records can reveal specifics of a person's estate that families might like to keep private. Since Williams set up at least one revocable trust, probate might not affect certain aspects of the late actor's estate plan.
Some New York residents may find that establishing a living trust is an attractive option for guiding asset disbursement upon death while avoiding a potentially frustrating probate process. For an individual considering a revocable or irrevocable trust, understanding some basic points regarding these trusts can help an individual to approach the subject more gracefully with a financial advisor or attorney.
There are countless examples of how a poorly worded or ambiguous will can lead to battles among heirs -- even for years after a person's death. If some parties think that the trust assets are not being appropriately handled, then the case could be tied up in case for years. In some cases, however, some of those assets might already be more or less gone.
Many families collapse into disarray after the death of a loved one. While much of this is due to family members trying to come to grips on the loss of a husband, brother or father, for example, after some time it often comes down to financial matters. It can be a source of conflict, for example, if a trustee is having a personal conflict with a trust beneficiary.
Not everyone believes that having a revocable living trust is necessary. After all, the federal estate tax exemption for individuals is $5.34 million and $10.68 million for married couples. However, the purpose of such an estate planning tool concerns more than just saving upon estate taxes. A revocable living trust can allow distributions to heirs without the assets having to go through probate and can thus be an effective means for distribution of assets.
Few people actually look forward to estate planning. Putting yourself in the frame of mind to do it means that you have to think about what the world will be like after you're no longer in it, which is not something that everyone wants to do. However, ultimately it's something that needs to be done. It's a way of having a say in your affairs after you're gone, which is certainly preferable to leaving no instructions behind -- and having your estate eaten up by taxes and fees.