A well executed plan can give you peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out and that family members are cared for.  Our frequently asked questions can give you the assurance that you are prepared.

I have a Will why should I want a Trust?

A Will is only a first step and simply a set of instructions for a judge to enforce. Many people don't realize that a Will must be verified and approved by a Probate Court before it can be enforced. A Will goes into affect after you die, it does not provide protection from incapacity. When you become incapacitated, your loved ones would have to institute a legal guardianship proceeding in order to take over your affairs. Guardianship/Conservatorship is a legal proceeding with a judge overseeing the administration of your estate. A Revocable Trust is an alternative estate planning tool. Unlike a Will, a properly designed Revocable Trust avoids guardianship and probate. It is a proven method that can eliminate the need for court oversight due to incapacity or after you die.

What is Probate?

Probate is a legal process established to oversee the distribution of your assets after death. It provides notice to your heirs and debtors regarding how your assets are to be distributed after the debts are paid. With a Will, or without a Will, your estate is subjected to the Probate laws of your state. Your heirs will have to hire a probate attorney to help settle your affairs. Many times this is the same attorney that helped you write your Will. The cost to your estate can be anywhere from 2-7% of your gross estate value. It will put your heirs through what can be a very difficult legal process that they will have little if any experience with.

Why should I avoid Probate?

The Probate process can be lengthy, costly and hardship on your family. The process can vary from a few months to several years. Family members ending up taking time from work to deal with the requirements of the Court. The cost to Probate your Will can be 2-7% of the gross estate and the attorney is the first to be paid at settlement! Probate is also public so your assets are available for anyone to see.

Doesn't joint ownership avoid Probate?

Joint ownership just postpones Probate. With most jointly owned assets, when one owner dies, full ownership transfers to the surviving owner. However, when the second owner dies, the assets must be Probated. With a co-owner you lose sole control and add the liability of the joint owner. Adding vulnerability to things such as creditor issues, bankruptcies, divorce and tax issues involving your co-owners.

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

A Revocable Living Trust is a legal document, just like a Will, that contains instructions for what you want to have happen to your assets when you die. Unlike a Will, a well written and properly funded Trust avoids probate at death, controls your estate and prevents the court from controlling your assets if you become incapacitated. Settlement for your family is private and can be done at the kitchen table. Your assets are distributed quickly and efficiently to your beneficiaries.

How does your Trust avoid probate and court control?

A trust is a form of property ownership under which the benefits of owning property — real or personal — are separated from the responsibilities of ownership. In other words, a trust is an arrangement whereby a trustee holds legal title to and manages property for the benefit of someone else. You no longer "own" anything in your name so there is nothing to Probate after you pass.

Do I lose control of assets in my Trust?

Absolutely not! You keep control. You can buy/sell assets, make changes, etc. Your accounts are the same. You pay the same income tax. Nothing changes but the name. Business as usual!

If something happens to me, who has control?

With a trust the person you have chosen has the control not a judge. It's that simple. When you create your Revocable Living Trust you get to chose the person you want to 'step into your shoes'. This person is called your Successor Trustee.

Who can be a Successor Trustee?

Your Successor Trustee can be anyone you chose. Spouses, adult children, and trusted friends are typical choices. By setting up a Trust, you choose this person, not the court system.

What does the Successor Trustee do?

If you become incapacitated, your Successor Trustee looks after your care and manages your financial affairs for as long as needed. If you recover, you automatically resume control. When you die, your Successor Trustee distributes your Trust assets. All of this is done privately and quickly according to your instruction and without the involvement of a Probate court.

Information provided on this site is for educational purposes only.  It is not meant to be legal advice.  Please consult an attorney with any legal questions.

Call Troy today to see how we can help you get started!

MN Clients 218-321-1006

ND/SD Clients 701-238-0855