Don't keep the existence of your revocable trust a secret!

On behalf of Scaringi Law posted in Estate Planning on Tuesday, September 6, 2016.

In a recent post, we explored some of the considerations that go into selecting the right trustee for your revocable or irrevocable trust. Today’s post focuses on a practical consideration: ensuring that trust documents can be found by the concerned parties.

As readers may recall, the instructions for a trust, such as how principal and/or income will be distributed to beneficiaries, are generally kept with the trustee. Of course, the creator of a trust may also retain copies, as might the attorney or law firm that assisted in developing the estate planning. Yet what happens if the trustee and the creator of the trust are the same individual, as in the case of a revocable trust? Specifically, if anything were to happen to that individual, would others even know of the trust’s existence?

Our law firm often finds that a comprehensive estate plan will cover such contingencies. At a minimum, that approach generally includes both a will and a revocable trust, in addition to other documents such as a health care power of attorney. An individual's will likely reference any of his or her trusts. Similarly, the public records of any assets that have been transferred to the trust would also reflect that the trustee, pursuant to the terms of the trust, is now the titled deed holder. Since a trust that has not been funded is essentially meaningless, a search at the local county recorder’s office will probably reveal the existence of any trusts.

From communication logistics to the coordination of tax strategies and retirement planning, our estate planning attorneys will make sure that a client’s goals and needs are met.

Source: The Nest, “How to Find Family Trust Records,” Jerry Shaw, Aug. 2016

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