3 Questions to Ask Your Trust Law Attorney

When Long Islanders are in need of an estate planning attorney, a trust law attorney, a probate attorney, a guardianship attorney, or a living trust attorney, they contact the law firm of Berwitz & DiTata LLP. Their team helps Long Islanders and their families plan for the future by assisting them with the process of planning their estates and all of the complexities that comes along with it to ensure that their wishes are carried out. With more than 70 years of combined experience, their senior partners – and their entire team – will assist you with making the necessary preparations for your assets and your care.

A living trust is an important part of the estate planning process; in fact, it’s something that a reputable estate lawyer highly recommends. A living trust is a legal document that incorporates your assets, including money, stocks, real estate, and any valuable property, and indicates exactly what you want to have done with those assets when you pass away. You are named the trustee or the person who controls the trust; however, a successor trustee is also named. In the event that you pass away or become incapacitated, the successor trustee will manage your trust and ensure that your assets are distributed to the beneficiaries you have named. Unlike a will, with a living trust, your assets can avoid courts and probate, which is one of the major advantages of this legal document. Another benefit is that a living trust remains private, whereas a will is public.

While you can draft a trust on your own, having an attorney assist you is highly recommended. A lawyer will help you with the process of creating your trust and ensure that the document is, in fact, legal. Additionally, a trust law attorney can offer legal help to the trustee; or, you can name your attorney as the trustee.

When establishing a living trust, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of the document, what it does, and how it is managed. Ask your trust law attorney the following questions to ensure your living trust is in line with your wishes.

What can be placed in a living trust?

Most of your assets can be placed in a living trust, including:

  • Real estate
  • Investments, including stocks and bonds
  • Precious gemstones and metals
  • Vehicles
  • Legal documents, such as copyrights or patents

A living trust can incorporate any valuable property that you own, such as furnishings, antiques, artwork, and even coin collections.

Is there anything that can’t go in a living trust?

While most of your assets can be placed in a trust, there are some things that can’t or shouldn’t be placed in a trust, such as:

  • Qualified retirement accounts, such as a 401(k), a 403(b), and an IRA
  • Medical savings accounts
  • Health savings accounts
  • Life insurance

Your trust law attorney will help you determine what assets can’t or shouldn’t be placed in your trust.

Who should be named the trustee?

A trustee is a person who will manage your trust. Typically, people name themselves the trustee of their living trust, as doing so allows them to manage their assets while they are still living. However, you can select anyone as your trustees, such as your spouse, an adult child, or even your attorney. If you name someone else, he or she will manage the trust while you are living and after you pass away. If you name yourself as the trustee, you will need to select a successor trustee, who will manage the trust in the event that you become incapacitated or pass away.

To find out more details about these questions and any other questions you may have, and for assistance with establishing your living trust, contact the law firm of Berwitz & DiTata LLP. Their legal team will guide you through the process of planning for your future. To arrange a consultation, call 516.747.3200.

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