Once you sign your Revocable Living Trust and other ancillary estate planning documents, you should feel peace of mind with knowing that you've taken steps to protect yourself and your family. However, you cannot set it and forget it. There's some work left to do.
The following are three aspects to maintaining your trust-based estate legal program.
(1) Trust Funding. As far as avoiding probate is concerned, your trust is only fully effective at helping you avoid probate to the extent that your probate assets are titled in the name of your trust when you die. When you sign your trust, or immediately thereafter, is the best time to title assets in your trust name. You will sign documents transferring your real estate to your trust, and you will work with your financial institutions to make sure that your investments are titled correctly.
(2) Life Changes. You should review your estate program when you have a major change to your life circumstances, such as, divorce, have children, remarriage, enter a blended family, death of a beneficiary, agent, or trustee, you move to another state permanently, you inherit a significant amount, or you change your mind regarding who will inherit or who will be in charge of your estate.
(3) Law changes. Not every law change requires that you revisit your estate planning program. However, recent changes to our federal gift and estate tax system has caused people to structure their estate planning legal program with less emphasis on estate tax avoidance, and more emphasis on capital gains tax avoidance, income tax avoidance, and long term care Medicaid eligibility.
Again, congratulations are in order for taking steps to put an estate legal program in place. But make sure that you complete it in both the short term and the long term by funding your trust the right way, and revisiting your plan in the event of significant life or law changes.
This post is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal advice. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read on this site. Using this site or communicating with Rabalais Estate Planning, LLC, through this site does not form an attorney/client relationship.
Louisiana Estate Planning Attorney
Phone: (225) 329-2450