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New York Living Trusts Lawyers

Raiser & Kenniff, PC, can help you with your living trust needs. These are also known as revocable trusts, or revocable living trusts. They are useful financial planning vehicles, that avoid probate, or can significantly reduce the probate process and it’s impact on your loved ones after you die. The living trust, is a will substitute. All assets, like real estate, bank accounts, etc, is transferred into the trust while you’re alive. The trust has instructions on what happens to the property once the “Grantor,” dies. The trust is revocable, and amendable, so if the Grantor changes his minds – he/she can change all of the important aspects of it. For example, who will inherit, how much will be inherited, etc, can all be changed.

Under NY Law, the Grant can also be the trustee. Until you’re incapacitated, or die, you can retain complete control over the assets in your living trust. The assets remain yours, and you can use your assets as you wish. When you die, the assets are not subject to probate. In addition to making the living trust, we can also help you make a will. A “pourover will,” is a method through which any asset you didn’t transfer into the trust, can still be given to someone. That means, if you didn’t put your house in your living trust, this “pourover will,” will give directives on who the house should go to. It is common for people to forget adding assets to a trust. In some cases, they may only get assets at a later time – which aren’t moved. For example, life insurance payments that arrive after they die. As long as most of the assets have been transferred into the living trust, the costs/delays associated with probate – are avoided if most of the assets are transferred into the living trust during your lifetime.

Probate is the process by which the Surrogate’s Court recognizes someone’s will, and then gives the executor the letters testamentary. The executor then gathers all the probate’s assets, and pays any debts of the deceased. The executor proceeds to pursue claims, pays taxes, and distributes the assets as dictated in the will. Once the will is admitted to probate, the Executor seeks something called judicial accounting in order to ensure his actions are approved – and can be discharged as Executor. Besides this, the Surrogate’s court has little else to do.

Administering Living Trust vs Probate

The primary difference between the two is that the living trust doesn’t have to be admitted to probate by the Surrogate’s Court. It means there’s no need to pay filing fees. There’s no delay in administering the trust either. A living trust also names a successor trustee to take over for the grantor upon death. That allows for the person to take over the assets in a timely manner. The trustee pays the bills, and can make a distribution in a timely manner.

Living trust’s don’t necessarily save money on taxes. Like a will, a living trust can be used to reduce, or eliminate, federal or state estate taxes. But a living trust alone doesn’t specifically provide tax savings. The assets in the living trust remain the assets of the Grantor for income tax purposes, and the Grantor will be taxed for interest, dividends, and capital gains like before. In addition, all assets held in a living trust are treated as the belongings of the Grantor for Federal/State estate tax purposes.



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