Living trust and estate planningThis is the next article in my series on the need for Long Island, New York residents to have a proper estate plan. My last article discussed the creation of a last will and testament. It is important to understand that a will may be invalidated if it does not meet certain requirements. Such an invalidation can result in the deceased being considered as having died “intestate.” It is also important that one’s last will be kept up to date. An experienced attorney can assist with ensuring that your affairs are handled correctly. In this article I will discuss how a living trust can be paired with a last will and incorporated into an estate plan. If you need assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.

Long Island residents may be able to avoid New York probate through the use of a living trust

A living trust is an instrument which can provide a great deal of flexibility in one’s estate planning strategy. This instrument creates a separate entity in which a person (known as the “grantor”) places their assets. The trust is then administered by a person known as the “trustee.” It is common for the grantor and the trustee to be the same individual. The trust may buy and sell property, collect money, pay bills, and be used to manage other day to day affairs. The instrument can include instructions as to how the assets are to be distributed upon the death of the grantor. Since the trust is a separate legal entity, this distribution of assets will generally be handled outside of the probate process. This means that the use of a living trust can help one to ensure that their assets will skip the probate process entirely.

It is generally advised that Long Island residents have a last will and testament, in addition to a living trust. Having a will can ensure that any property, not included in the trust, is distributed in accordance with the wishes of the deceased, rather than in accordance with New York’s intestate succession statutes. It is suggested that you speak with an attorney to determine the best combination of estate planning instruments for your given situation.

A living trust can provide Long Island residents with additional options as to how their estate is handled

A living trust can also be used to provide additional flexibility in the administration of one’s affairs. It is possible for a trust to include a provision which names a new trustee upon the death of the grantor. If the grantor wishes for his or her heirs to meet certain requirements before receiving their inheritance, then this new trustee can continue to oversee the trust while those requirements are being met. Say, for example, that a grantor wishes for a grandchild to graduate from college before receiving their inheritance. Now suppose that the grandchild is still in school when the grantor dies. A new trustee can ensure that the money remains in the trust and then distributes upon the grandchild’s graduation. This is different from the use of a will, which will require the distribution of assets upon an individual’s death. This is just one example of the additional flexibility which can be gained from a living trust.

If you or a loved one wish to establish a living trust, then contact my office today to speak with a Long Island estate planning lawyer. I am experienced in handling such matters and I look forward to being of assistance. Call today to speak with an attorney. Our office also serves Kings County residents in Brooklyn, residents of Queens, those in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, as well as people in other New York areas.