A living trust lawyer in Des Moines, IA is a valuable resource to have on hand if you’re finally ready to start planning for your future. Not everyone thinks about what should happen to their possessions once they die – but creating a will or a living trust is a great way to make sure your family is taken care of after you pass on.
A will is generally pretty simple to put together and manage, but a living trust takes a bit more work. Why would someone choose to create a living trust, and why would they want to get a living trust lawyer involved? The best way to answer these questions is to understand what makes living trusts worth the extra effort, and why a living trust is so important.
What is a Living Trust?
A living trust is a set of instructions that outline all of your assets and what should be done with those assets upon your death. On the surface, it sounds pretty similar to a will, but there’s a catch: A will is only active after you die. A living trust, on the other hand, is active the moment you sign on the dotted line. It’s where the term “living” comes into play – a living trust can be adjusted while you’re still living.
Because a living trust is active the moment you create it, you can add or remove assets whenever you wish, assuming you’re the trustee (the person elected to manage the trust). You can always opt to make an irrevocable trust, which means there’s no changes allowed – but those are a different story, and usually only necessary for really big estates. You can reach out to a qualified living trust lawyer in Des Moines, IA for more information on those.
Sounds great. Why do I need a lawyer?
It’s possible to create your own living trust. It’s also possible to skydive without a parachute. You really shouldn’t try either.
A living trust lawyer is a valuable resource for when you’re trying to set up important instructions for your family, friends, and other beneficiaries. Living trusts are complicated to set up, and there’s plenty of opportunity to make a critical mistake and void the whole thing. Fortunately, the right lawyer can help you navigate through all the legal hoops necessary to ensure your trust is legally enforceable.
Creating a living trust is a complicated procedure, and a living trust lawyer can help you keep your stress levels in check. They can also help you include any special instructions for family members who were relying on you before your death. Elderly parents, young children, and disabled adults can all be properly cared for in your trust if you reach out to an accomplished living trust lawyer.
4 Important Decisions You Need to Make When Creating a Living Trust
Having a trust can help prevent your family from having to go through probate to receive their inheritance when you are gone. While creating a living trust can be stressful, those at Law Group of Iowa work to make the process easier for you. The following are some decisions that a living trust lawyer in Des Moines, IA, can help you make.
1. What Should You Include in the Trust?
You have likely acquired many items throughout your life, but not all of your property needs to be included in your trust. It may be important to determine what will happen to family heirlooms, but you can leave out items that you consider trivial. Your lawyer can help you make a list of valuable items that you want to include in the document.
2. Who Will Inherit Your Assets?
One of the most important decisions you need to make is who will be receiving your property. For some items, like a ring passed down to eldest daughters, determining who it will go to is easy. For other assets, you may have more trouble choosing the best recipient. Luckily, when you are working with a living trust lawyer in Des Moines, IA, you can update your trust if you change your mind later.
3. Do You Need a Property Guardian?
If you are leaving assets to a minor, then you may need to appoint a property guardian, trustee or property custodian. The person that you choose will be in charge of these assets until the inheritor reaches a certain age, usually 21. It is important that this is someone who is responsible and reliable because depending on which route you take, the person chosen will have various responsibilities and may be able to use the assets under certain circumstances, such as health expenses or schooling. At Law Group of Iowa, a living trust lawyer in Des Moines, IA, can help you determine the best option.
4. Are You Creating a Shared or Individual Trust?
While you can always create an individual trust, many married couples choose to use a shared trust instead. This is often the best choice if you and your spouse own property together. If you decide that a shared trust is the right way to go, then a lawyer can help get both of you on the same page about where your property will go. However, if you would prefer, you and your spouse can also create separate trusts for your individual assets.
How to Build a Trust
Start By Getting Help
Unless you have a legal background, you probably don’t know all the rules involved with creating a trust. You should seek help from your elder law lawyer in Des Moines, IA or the Law Group of Iowa to get started. Technically, you are allowed to build a trust on your own if you feel comfortable doing so.
Create Trust Documents
Trust documents are essential; they outline your assets, guarantor, beneficiaries to your assets, trustees in charge of your trust, successor trustees to take over for original trustees if they become unavailable and any other important information regarding the trust. You should also consider getting a certificate of trust, which proves the existence of your trust and the validity of the people involved in it.
Sign Your Documents
None of your trust documents are legally binding without your signature, and you also need the signatures of at least two uninvolved witnesses. You aren’t legally required to notarize trust documents in every state, but it’s still wise to do so; this can help prevent instances of fraud. You should speak with your elder lawyer in Des Moines, IA to learn what your state’s laws are.
Set Up a Bank Account
When your trust documents are finished, you should move on to setting up a bank account. This account will provide funds to your beneficiaries, and it’s wise to create an entirely new account specifically for your trust. If you’d rather use an existing account, speak with your financial institution to see if you can.
Next, you need to designate beneficiaries who can receive your assets if you pass away. One of the most notable parts of a trust is that your assets are payable on death, which means your beneficiaries don’t need probate in order to access the trust. Beneficiaries are most commonly friends, family members and heirs, but you can legally appoint almost anybody to receive your assets in a trust. The Law Group of Iowa can help you determine who should be included.
Move Your Assets to Your Trust
Of course, you’ll need to move assets into your trust after you’ve named beneficiaries. Assets typically include deeds to properties or houses, vehicle titles, certificates of authenticity or ownership to valuables, family heirlooms and any other important possessions you own. If you don’t know how to move these assets, your elder law lawyer in Des Moines, IA can help.
Reach Out to Law Group of Iowa Today
If you’re ready to start planning out your living trust, you’ve come to the right place. At Law Group of Iowa, we know how important your family and friends are, and we’re committed to making sure they’re looked after upon your death. Reach out to us today for more information, and see how a living trust lawyer in Des Moines, IA can help you plan for tomorrow.