The Benefits of Inter Vivos Trusts in New York
By: Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
April 21, 2022
If you’ve started the estate planning process, you probably already crafted your Will with care. But there could be a missing piece to your estate plan. And it can even make things easier on your heirs when you pass. This option is called an “inter vivos trust” or a living trust.
A trust can facilitate your beneficiaries to avoid the long and costly probate process and receive their inheritance quickly and smoothly – and it can even help with taxes. So let’s take a closer look at the specifics of inter vivos trusts.
How to Create Inter Vivos Trusts
When you create an inter vivos or living trust, you are simply deciding which assets will go to which beneficiaries when you die. And because the trust is “living,” you can continue to exercise full control and modify it during your lifetime.
It’s advisable to have a seasoned attorney who specializes in inter vivos trusts in New York help you create the trust. They can ensure you have the right trust in mind, select which property to include in the trust, craft the best terms for your situation and notarize and file it correctly. They can also help you name yourself as the “trustee” of the inter vivos trust and appoint a “successor trustee” to distribute your assets after your death.
The Upside of a Trust in New York
If you decide to create an inter vivos trust as part of your estate plan, it comes with the following benefits:
- You have full control over the assets in your trust while you are alive.
- You can change, modify, or even suspend or close the trust at any time if you experience major life changes. It is recommended that you revisit the terms of your trust with your attorney every few years to reflect this.
- You can create a shared living trust with your spouse to simplify your estate plan for their sake. After both of your deaths, the successor trustee would then administer your estate.
- Your trust avoids probate completely, which can become a long and expensive process required to distribute your assets to your heirs. With a trust, your property can be distributed to your beneficiaries immediately after your death. Probate, on the other hand, can last years.
- A living trust can help reduce tax liability on your estate. But, unfortunately, it can’t usually reduce tax on your estate overall.
What About a Will?
Inter vivos trusts do most of the work of a will for you – and help you avoid the downsides that come with having only a will, like probate. But it’s still advisable to create a Last Will and Testament as part of your estate.
Why? For one, you may have assets outside of the trust. Without a will, any parts of your estate not included in your trust (intentionally or accidentally) could be subject to intestacy. This means the state of New York statutes state how to distribute your assets to your closest relatives.
Additionally, you may have final wishes that cannot be addressed in the terms of an inter vivos trust. And if you have any children who are minors, only a Will can name their designated legal guardian in the event of your death.
Establishing Your Trust
So you’ve thought it over and decided an inter vivos trust feels like the right fit for you. Now you deserve an attorney who specializes in New York estate planning and trust administration.
Haimo Law can help you achieve your estate planning goals and ensure you feel accomplished and confident. With our 4-step unique proven process, leaving a legacy you can be proud of is easier than you think. Contact us to get started with your living trust today.
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose®
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