Estate planning enables a person to control what happens to his or her assets at the end of his or her life. A will is the most basic estate-planning tool and is used to direct the distribution of the decedent’s estate. Other tools, such as trusts, may be useful, depending on the size of the person’s estate and whether there are dependent or disabled loved ones in the picture. Depending on your goals, your estate plan may allow your estate to avoid probate entirely. Do not leave these important issues to chance by allowing the State to decide what happens.

Revocable Trust

A Will with a Revocable Trust is a method to avoid probate. Assets are transferred to the Revocable Trust that are managed by the grantor/trustee while the grantor is alive. Upon the grantor’s death the trustee distributes the assets without necessity of Probate.

A will is prepared where personal effects are distributed. All remaining assets are transferred to the revocable trust. An executor is appointed in the Will.

The Will and Revocable Trust is used most often to avoid Probate rather than planning for estate tax avoidance. The estate tax threshold is over $1,300,000 per individual.

The Estate Tax rules are different for non-citizens. See Landon for more on this. It is critical that a Will – which will not be presented until one’s death – is prepared properly both to reflect the descendants will and to be fully honored by the courts.

Landon cautions against the use of on-line services as she feels that they sometimes do not reflect the specific situation of the individual and may not fully discuss options which may or may not better suit the individual. In addition, the on-line documents may not reflect North Carolina law or may fail to be properly executed.

Testamentary Trusts

If the Testamentary Trust language is not utilized any minor beneficiary will be distributed assets at age 18. In the Testamentary Trust, the Trustee controls the disbursement of assets at an age designated in the will.

A will with a Testamentary Trust is used when minor children are heirs. A Trustee is appointed to manage the financial affairs of the child until a designated age stipulated in the will.. In addition, the Will establishes who would be the guardian of the child.

Landon A Dunn, Attorney At Law guide you with trusts and provide advice on any aspect of Estate Planning. Call us or fill out our contact form.