Revocable living trusts are a good estate planning option for people here in Washington who are concerned about how their assets will be passed along if they are incapacitated by illness and unable to manage their own affairs.
A living trust enables the grantor to control their assets during the time they are alive and healthy, during a time of possible incapacitation and after their death. Some grantors manage their own trusts or work with an estate planning attorney.
Several types of assets can fund a living trust
Once you have signed an agreement to create a living trust, you will need to fund it with assets. Many retitled assets can go into the trust, including:
- Cash accounts: This can include checking, savings, money markets and CDs.
- Non-retirement accounts: These are assets other than 401(k), 403(b), IRAs or qualified annuities, which only require a change in beneficiary. Instead, these are non-retirement investment and brokerage accounts in your name, those held in joint ownership with others or as tenants in common.
- Nonqualified annuities: List these accounts as primary or secondary beneficiaries.
- Real estate: Record new local deeds when transferring property into a living trust.
- Personal property: Personal effects such as jewelry, clothing, cars, boats, firearms, pets and photos are a few examples. In Washington, a living trust can help you avoid probate for nearly every asset you wish to pass along.
Seek legal help when establishing a living trust
A revocable living trust can be a good option to pass along your assets should you become unable to manage your affairs, and it can also help you avoid probate, which keeps the distribution records of your estate private. An experienced estate planning attorney here in Washington can help you create a living trust to see that your wishes are followed.