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Using revocable living trusts to manage estates

Most people in Missouri are aware of the importance of estate planning. To many, however, this simply means the creation of a last will and testament. Despite this thought, there are several different tools that can aid in the management of estates, including the creation of a revocable living trust.

A trust can serve several purposes. For example, it often allows an estate to avoid the public, and often lengthy, probate process. A trust is created once a grantor, or person who owns the estate, creates a declaration of trust. This document defines the terms of the trust which can vary widely based on the needs and desires of the grantor. The trust can be modified or terminated at any time.

Once created, the trust must be properly funded for it to work properly. Real estate can be retitled, naming the trust as owner. Additionally retirement accounts, life insurance policies and other assets can be transferred to the trust. A trustee is named, either the grantor or a trusted party, to manage the estate for beneficiaries who will not receive funds until the grantor's death.

There are many tools that can help with the transition of estates in Missouri following a death. Often, the effort that goes into planning trusts and other estate planning documents can help significantly reduce some of the stress often experienced by family members following a loss. Additionally, careful planning, with the advice of an experienced attorney who is experienced with creating such documents, can help preserve the estate for beneficiaries instead of having significant funds go to pay taxes.

Source: capemaycountyherald.com, "Trusts Must Be Funded Properly", April 3, 2018

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