Preparing Revocable Trusts with Discretion for Delaware Clients
Using a flexible approach to estate planning when your wishes may change
A revocable or living trust is used by individuals or married couples who want the opportunity to revise the conditions of the trust after it is funded. The person setting up the trust may also be the beneficiary, with trust assets and income benefiting family members or others after the person’s death. But the opportunity to change one’s mind and revise various aspects of the trust, including future beneficiaries, the age at which they benefit, how income is to be distributed and the purposes for which income may be used, allows for flexibility. Estate & Elder Law Services has significant experience drafting revocable trusts and other trusts, working closely with clients to determine estate planning options appropriate to their goals.
The benefits of setting up a revocable trust in Delaware
Revocable trusts can be valuable because they avoid probate, the court-supervised process typically used to identify, marshal and distribute the property of a decedent’s estate in accordance with the person’s last will and testament or state law. Probate can be a lengthy and expensive affair. Probate proceedings are also open to the public. Trust documents are private in nature and result in assets and income being transferred and used for named beneficiaries without resorting to the court system.
To set up a living or revocable trust, it is always best to seek the advice of an estate planning lawyer. Preparing a trust requires a careful analysis of the settlor’s intentions. An attorney with deep experience drafting trusts can ask the right questions to help a client flesh out the terms and conditions best suited to their situation. One important issue is naming a trustee to administer and manage the trust and its assets. This can be a financial advisor with investment experience, but in many cases, the person setting up the trust is the trustee.
It is also necessary to execute a Declaration of Trust and fund the trust by transferring assets into it. Funding a trust is usually accomplished by changing title on the relevant assets so the trust is listed as the owner, and by listing property on the schedule of assets that is part of the trust documents. An attorney with experience in the field of estate planning can advise you with respect to certain types of assets, such as IRAs, that cannot be used to fund a trust.