A Trust is a separate entity on to itself. You and your spouse are the people who set up the trust called “Settlors” or “Grantor” and you are both the original managers of the Trust known as the “Trustees” and the Primary Beneficiaries of the Trust. You will name a Successor Trustee” to continue on managing the trust after you are gone. With a Living Trust you can eliminate the need to use Probate Court in administering your assets if you become disabled, incompetent, or die. A Trust may also help reduce the risk of inexperienced and unskilled management of property by allowing you to select today an asset manager for the future.

A Trust is a written expression of your desires as to the management of assets during your lifetime if you become incapacitated and to whom the assets pass upon your death. Put another way, it is an arrangement under which one person gives some part or all of their assets to another as Trustee. Those who are to receive benefits from the Trust are known as beneficiaries. The arrangement establishes: (1) Who the beneficiaries will be, what each will receive, and when they will receive it; (2) How much investment authority will be given to the Trustee to meet the needs of the beneficiaries; and (3) What the duration of the Trust will be within the limits allowed by law.

You should meet with an attorney to discuss your estate plan and the advantages of a Living Trust. The attorney who will prepare the Living Trust documents that will give force to your estate plan is essential to the planning process. Your life insurance agent, financial planner, trust officer and accountant can also be helpful. Together, this team of experts can help you create the best plan for your family. It is just as important to select the proper Trustee as it is to select the proper estate planning attorney. While a well planned Living Trust document can be just a few pages long, well chosen words and instructions can insure that your intentions and planning objectives are met. Sumner & Associates, P.C. has been practicing estate planning for over fourteen years and has received the highest rating for attorneys from Martindale-Hubbell.