The primary purposes of a Revocable Living Trust are to avoid Probate Court's costs at death and a guardianship proceeding should the creator of the Trust (the Trustor) become incapacitated during life. In order for a Successor Trustee to properly administer the Trust in the event of incapacity or death, the assets in the Trust should be identified.
Typically attached to an individual Revocable Living Trust is Schedule A that lists all the Trust assets. This provides a roadmap for the Successor Trustee to find the Trustor's assets held in the Trust and to begin administering the assets correctly. For married couples completing a joint Revocable Living Trust, Schedule A will identify Community Property, Schedule B will identify the Husband's Separate Property, and Schedule C will identify the Wife's Separate Property. Identifying the property's character can be very important for the Successor Trustee to properly administer the Trust for beneficiaries and determine if the step-up in income tax basis to Fair Market Value at death is applicable to the asset. The Trustors should update Schedules A, B, and C in writing as material changes are made to their assets such as new bank accounts, brokerage accounts, real estate, life insurance, safe deposit boxes, etc. While the Trustors can make updates and changes to their Schedules, the Trustors should never write on their trust document as any handwritten modification to a Trust document that is not properly executed/notarized will not be effective.
An example of Schedule A is included at the end of this article for a sample client assuming all their property is Community Property. While Schedule A provides the roadmap for administering Trust assets for Successor Trustees, it does not by itself fund assets into the Trust. To properly fund real property into a Trust, a deed must be prepared and recorded, bank account and brokerage accounts re-titled to the Trust, qualified plans and IRA beneficiary designations updated, life insurance beneficiary designations completed, and business interests assigned to the Trust.
Consult with an Estate Planning Professional
While Estate planning can be complicated, it is essential in protecting yourself and your loved one's financial future. Give Anderson, Dorn & Rader Ltd. a call at 775-823-9455 to make a free consultation with an estate planning attorney and see how we can help protect your legacy and your family.
Many people who are not wealthy assume that trusts are only useful for high net worth individuals. They are under the impression that last wills are for "the rest of us."
This may be a mistaken assumption. All trusts are not created equal. Different trusts serve different purposes. Yes, there are trusts that are used to accomplish objectives that are needed primarily for the wealthy. On the other hand, there are other types of trusts that would not only be useful to high net worth individuals, but to the "mere mortal," as well.
One of these trusts is the revocable living trust.
The Value of a Revocable Living Trust
With a revocable living trust you as the person creating the trust will be referred to as the trustor. You name a trustee to administer the trust. You also name a beneficiary or beneficiaries who will receive distributions out of the trust.
At first you as the trustor can act as both the trustee and the beneficiary. Under this arrangement you do not surrender control of the assets while you are living. Further, because the trust is revocable, you can actually dissolve it at any time. You can also amend the terms and add or subtract beneficiaries as you see fit.
In the trust agreement you name a successor trustee who will assume this role after your death or incapacity. This is the individual or entity that will administer the trust in accordance with your wishes.
You can ask someone you know to act as trustee. However, there are other options. First of all, you may not have a personal relationship with anyone who has experience in asset management.
Secondly, even if you did know someone who is qualified, if he or she passes away or becomes incapacitated, you should have an alternate to replace them.
As an alternative you could name a trust company or the trust department of a bank to act as trustee.
When you convey assets into a living trust, your beneficiaries will receive their inheritances outside of the process of probate. When you use a will the estate must be probated before inheritances are distributed.
Probate can take a significant amount of time. There are also expenses incurred during probate. Probate costs will decrease the amount of the inheritances that will be received by the heirs.
With a living trust probate is not a factor. The trustee distributes assets to the beneficiaries in a fast and efficient manner.
Another benefit is the fact that you can include the selection of a disability trustee. If you were to become incapacitated and unable to handle your financial affairs, this disability trustee would administer the trust on your behalf, because you are still the primary beneficiary.
Probate stands in the way of your heirs and their inheritances when your assets are in your name at the time of your death. Nevada probate can take a significant amount of time (often a year or more), and most people would like their heirs to receive their inheritances in a more timely manner. For some, this wait is not a problem. For other families, however, there may be an immediate need for liquidity.
The waiting period is only one of the problems with the Nevada probate process. Expenses can accumulate during this process , and they can ultimately consume a noticeable percentage of the estate (often 4% - 8% or more if there is a contest). This is all money that could have gone to the heirs if probate was avoided.
It is possible to avoid probate in Nevada. There are a number of ways to go about it, and one of the most popular probate avoidance solutions is the revocable living trust.
Once you convey assets into the name you have given to your revocable living trust you name a trustee that is empowered to manage the assets that are titled in the trust. You also name a beneficiary or beneficiaries who would receive distributions out of the trust. The nature of these distributions would be decided by you when you create the trust agreement.
Initially you may serve as both the trustee and the beneficiary. By doing so, you do not surrender control or beneficial use of the assets. You can distribute assets to yourself, manage your own investments, and change the terms of the trust agreement if you want to do so. Since the trust is revocable, you can even revoke it entirely if you ever choose to do so. Since the point is to facilitate the transfer of your financial assets after you pass away you name a successor trustee, and you name beneficiaries who will receive distributions out of the trust after you die.
Once the assets have been conveyed into the revocable living trust they are no longer considered to be probate assets under the laws of the state of Nevada. As a result, when the trustee distributes monetary resources to the beneficiaries of the trust these asset transfers are not subject to the process of probate.
The creation of a revocable living trust is one way to avoid the probate process, but there are others as well. If you would like to discuss all of your options with a licensed professional please feel free to contact Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd. to request a no obligation consultation.
We will listen carefully as you explain your objectives, gain an understanding of your unique personal situation, and make the appropriate recommendations. You can then go forward with a tailor-made estate plan that will facilitate a fast, efficient, and cost-effective transfer of assets to your loved ones when the time comes. To learn more, please download Anderson, Dorn & Rader, Ltd.'s free probate process report.
The last will is the most commonly utilized asset transfer vehicle in estate planning. Many individuals assume that this is their only logical option because they are under the impression that trusts only serve the interests of the very wealthy.
In fact, this is not true at all. There are indeed trusts that are created to serve the interests of high net worth individuals. However, some trusts, such as revocable living trusts, don't provide the asset protection and estate tax efficiency that many wealthy people would be seeking.
Revocable living trusts enable asset transfers outside of the probate process. This is the primary reason why people create them.
Probate is a time-consuming process that comes along with some considerable expenses. With a living trust you may save your heirs a considerable amount of time as you avoid probate expenses.
Another one of the pitfalls of probate is the fact that you and your family's personal matters are no longer private. The probate court will be supervising the administration of the estate, and the things that go on are a matter of public record. Anyone could access the probate court records to probe into the business that was conducted during probate.
For various reasons many people would prefer that their final affairs remain private and confidential.
If you'd like to learn more about the value of revocable living trusts we invite you to download our free report on the subject. You can gain access by clicking this link: Free Nevada Living Trust Report.