A trust is a very useful estate planning document. First, estate planners can use a trust to render the probate process unnecessary for their estates. Second, trusts can be used to clearly outline who will receive specific assets, when and over what period of time. Third, since there are a lot of different types of trusts that can be molded to fit different kinds of situations, a trust can be crafted to suit virtually any kind of estate planning need.
All that said, many estate planners commit a very fatal mistake with regard to trusts. They create the document and leave it alone — never to think about it again. The fact is, trusts must be reviewed year to year in order to ensure that they are still up-to-date and accurate. For example, it is important to make sure that the trust reflects new laws and regulations, and any changing family or financial circumstances.
Changing laws might render an old trust obsolete — especially in cases where the trust was designed for tax management purposes. Furthermore, deaths, divorces, new children, new grandchildren and other changing life circumstances might significantly affect the way an estate should be distributed.
At the Law Office of Barbara J. Dibble, we will review your trust documentation thoroughly to identify any potential problem areas that need to be adjusted. For example, you might want to change who you have selected as trustee or power of attorney in your trust. It is also important to ensure that property inside the trust has not been sold or transferred, and the check on whether additional new property needs to be placed under the trust’s ownership. We will also double check to see if your trust plan is still appropriate given the current tax laws, estate rules and other regulations.
In most cases, it is a simple matter to update a trust to reflect new laws or new family or financial circumstances. If you want to know if your trust or estate plan is in need of adjustments, our law office is available to help you with these concerns.