Solid estate plans often involve both the establishment of a trust and a pour-over will. Both tools work well together to ensure that our affairs are as organized as possible, and curtail some of the stress our families experience as we decline. Trusts can also be important in helping us plan for our own needs as we age. Here are helpful pointers about how pour-over wills and trusts can be used in estate planning.
Safety Net for Trusts
Working with a lawyer to set up a trust is a smart way to both plan for our own needs as we age, and to ensure a smooth and timely distribution of your assets to loved ones when you die. Different types of trusts, such as revocable living trusts, medicaid asset protection trusts and special needs trusts can be established, depending on family circumstances. With all trusts, once the trust documents are signed with a lawyer, the legwork on actually transferring designated assets into the trust must be completed. Typically, trusts are funded with assets such as real estate, financial accounts, life insurance, annuity certificates, and business interests. The specific documents associated with each separate asset to be transferred into the trust need to be completed to fund the trust. As The Heritage Law Center further explains:
A trust holds legal title to property for the benefit of another person (beneficiary). You need to fund the trust, which involves transferring assets to the trust. A pour-over will is a last will and testament which transfers the deceased person’s property at the time of their death to the trust. The pour-over will basically acts as a safety net for the trust. If the person who created the trust (grantor) forgot to transfer an asset to the trust, at the time of their death that asset will pass through the pour-over will to the trust, however; the asset must first go through probate. The probate process should be shorter than usual since the assumption is that there will be minimal assets involved and the court doesn’t have to ensure all the beneficiaries have received notice and distributions; the court must only ensure that the assets get poured over into the trust.
Since it stands to reason that some of our assets will always exist outside a trust, pour- over wills ensure that these assets are properly attended to when we die. Importantly, pour-over wills also enable parents to name guardians for minor children. For the well-being of children, courts often require the designated guardian to post a guardianship bond. The purpose of a guardianship bond is to protect the interest and affairs of the ward in accordance with applicable state laws. With national, digital and direct service, Colonial Surety Company makes it easy to obtain a guardianship bond efficiently and quickly. Obtain a Guardianship Bond Here.
Trustees and Trustee Bonds?
Importantly, when creating a trust, you (the grantor) name a trustee to administer the assets in accordance with the plans specified in the trust agreement. When families choose trustees and successor trustees, they typically designate a loved one or friend to serve as the trustee. An independent fiduciary is also an option. Keep in mind that the trustee role is not a ceremonial one. All trustees are fiduciaries: they are legally bound to the highest duty of care in executing their responsibilities. In fact, given the significant duties undertaken by trustees, the trust agreement may require procurement of a trustee bond.
A trustee bond is a type of fiduciary bond that protects the interests of the trust and beneficiaries by guaranteeing the faithful performance of a trustee in accordance with the law. As a leading national provider of many types of fiduciary bonds, Colonial Surety makes it easy and efficient to obtain a trustee bond. Just get a quote online, fill out the information, and enter a payment method. The bond can be printed or e-filed from anywhere. Trustee Bonds Here
Estate Law Practice?
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