Before setting up a living trust as part of your estate planning process, you need to think through some of the things that should be included. First, you need to figure out whether you want an individual or shared trust. If you are in a domestic partnership or you are married, then look to see if most of your property is jointly owned. If so, a shared trust might be the best way to go.
Next you want to decide who will inherit your property under the trust. This is typically family members, charities or friends. Make sure to make alternate plans and beneficiaries too. You also want to decide which items you will leave in the trust such as your more expensive possessions that you don’t want to have to go through the probate process.
You will need to choose a person who will become your successor trustee that will be able to distribute all the property to your beneficiaries after you have passed away. You should speak with that person to make sure that they are able to take on that responsibility, however. If your children are inheriting any property and are still under age, you may need to also choose someone who can manage the property until they are of legal age.
An estate planning attorney can make sure that all of the legalities required to have a valid trust are met. For instance, you need to understand whether the trust requires to be signed in front of a notary. There are also small legal procedures that need to take place to make sure that your trust will be valid. Once you have a trust document, make sure that you store it in a safe place and let your loved ones know where to find it.
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