According to a 2020 Estate Planning and Wills study from Caring.com, approximately one-third (32 percent) of Americans have one or more estate planning documents. Of these, only 13 percent have a living trust. Settling the final affairs or distributing the assets of a deceased person's estate without an estate planning document can be very complicated. Regardless of how small or large your estate may be, having a properly drafted living will or trust is vital to protect your property, loved ones, and avoid the probate process.
If you wish to draft a trust or want to understand how your estate plan will be administered upon your death, it is crucial that you consult with a knowledgeable Louisiana estate planning attorney for proper guidance. At my firm, Robert B. Dunlap Attorney at Law, I am dedicated to offering experienced legal counsel and comprehensive guidance to clients in matters of estate planning, wills, and living trusts. As your legal counsel, I'm available to discuss your unique circumstances and educate you about your estate planning options to help you determine the ideal plan that best suits your needs and those of your loved ones.
The Law Office of Robert B. Dunlap proudly serves clients throughout Shreveport, Mansfield, Bossier City, Minden, and Webster Parish, Louisiana, as well as Marshall, Texas.
Overview of Trusts
A trust is a fiduciary relationship that exists when a person (trustor or guarantor) appoints a third-party (trustee) to handle and manage their final affairs and distribute assets to heirs and beneficiaries upon their death. A trust may include all the estate's assets, such as real estate property, bank accounts, savings, investments, and business interests.
Additionally, creating a trust can help your estate avoid the probate process (the legal process of transferring your estate) when you are unable to. This will help save your loved ones the time and cost of distributing assets while also keeping things private. When you die, your appointed trustee can step in and administer your estate in accordance with your exact provisions outlined in the trust document.
Are There Different Types of Trusts?
Yes. Generally, there are two main types of trusts – revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts.
A revocable trust (or living trust) is a trust that can be revoked, modified, or altered by the guarantor while they're alive. The revocable trust allows the guarantor to hold and manage all assets in the trust as long as they're still able to. At any time, the guarantor can name a successor trustee to take over when necessary.
An irrevocable trust is a trust that cannot be altered or changed by the guarantor. In an irrevocable trust, the trustor relinquishes control over all assets or properties placed in the trust once it is signed. The trustor transfers the assets to the trust and gives up their legal ownership rights. This will help lower or avoid paying taxes on such assets completely. Also, assets placed in an irrevocable trust are protected from debt collection and lawsuits against the guarantor.