Massachusetts individuals may utilize living trusts as an effective estate planning tool to help carry out their desires. By drafting a trust correctly, grantors can use assets during their lifetime that they need while also providing structure for their heirs after they die.
A person creates a trust by executing a document that clearly states the grantor’s intent for the trust to hold property on behalf of the grantor for the benefit of the beneficiary, who is often the grantor or a family member. The trust may list assets that are part of the trust, such as real property and investment, while other trusts include a schedule that contains this information. The grantor can add additional assets or remove assets from the trust at his or her will. Additionally, the grantor must transfer legal title to the property to the trust. This makes the trust the legal owner of the assets in it. Most living trusts are revocable, so the grantor retains the right to make any change to the terms of the trust, including who serves as trustee and what property comprises the trust.
Living trusts offer a variety of benefits to grantors. For example, using a trust can help avoid the probate process. Because probate is supervised by a court, it is public record. Trusts are usually administered privately so no one knows the arrangements that are made part of the trust. Having a living trust also provides a way to provide for the possibility of disability. Trusts can give grantors more control of how assets should be used and distributed than a will provides.
Individuals who would like help creating a trust or making other estate planning documents may consult with an attorney who has experience in estate planning. The attorney can assess the client’s financial circumstances and stated goals and determine how best to carry out the client’s wishes.
Source: American Bar Association , “Living Trusts “, November 02, 2014
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