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Agnes' Plan

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Change In Management

Agnes has learned that her living trust can accomplish after-death distribution of her property, much like a Will would. But her trust has an advantage for her out-of-state adult children. 

They will not need to file a probate court case here in Illinois after Agnes’ death in order to distribute her property as she directs them to in her trust.  They will not have to pay a special title insurance bond premium either, which saves money.

Agnes named her son, John, to wear her “trustee hat” and be her successor co-trustee.  After her death, John will have legal authority to manage her property, including whether to rent it out or sell it.  He will be authorized to sign a Deed to sell it without going to court first, because the owner of the property is the trust, not Agnes.

Because the trust is a piece of paper and so cannot die, Agnes’ death simply will mean there is a change in management.  As the successor trustee, John (or his sister Betty, if John does not take on the job for some reason) will follow the directions Agnes left for distributing her assets on the terms she specified.  When all is done as she wanted, the successor trustee will close the trust. 

For advice about living trusts or wills for yourself or someone you know who needs help with estate planning, call our office at (815) 436-1996 to set an appointment for individualized analysis of your specific situation. 

©2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Trustee Is Duty Bound

Agnes has learned that she has just as much power to take care of her property as trustee of her own living trust as she did when she owned that property simply as herself.  It also means that she can later allow either or both of her adult children take over managing her property later if she wants to, by naming them her successor trustee. 

She could later resign as trustee so her son John, who she named to serve first, could take over managing her rental property and other finances. Then, John would have the legal authority to buy or sell, mortgage, hold, or use any of her assets just as Agnes did when she served as trustee.  John could sign a deed to sell one of her rental properties, as trustee.

But there is an important difference.  John must make all management decisions for the benefit of Agnes only as long as she is alive.  Even though Agnes resigned being trustee, she is still the beneficiary of the trust for her lifetime.  So, as her trustee, John is duty-bound to act only for her interests.

If at the time Agnes stops being trustee, John is unable or unwilling to be trustee, Agnes has named her daughter Betty to serve as the backup trustee. 

For advice about living trusts or wills for yourself or someone you know who needs help with estate planning, call our office at (815)436-1996 to receive free informational brochures or to set an appointment for individualized analysis of your specific situation. 

©2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Grantor Is First

Agnes is finding out that she can be fully in control of her own revocable living trust so long as she is alive and able to handle her own affairs.  Plus, the living trust means her out-of-state adult children won’t have to go through probate court proceedings here in Illinois to take care of wrapping up her financial affairs after her death.

Agnes is in full control of her property held in her new living trust when she wears all three hats, as grantor, trustee and beneficiary, even though her trust, not Agnes, is the official owner of the property. 

As grantor, Agnes creates the trust.  When she creates the trust, she names who will inherit after her death and who will be in charge of paying her final debts and making sure the people she named receive her remaining property. 

The grantor also is the person who provides property for the trust to own; that is, Agnes funds the trust.  She plans to put just about everything she owns into her trust. 

As grantor, Agnes also is the only person who has full power to change or revoke it if she ever wanted to. 

For answers about living trusts or wills for yourself or someone you know who needs help with estate planning, call our office at (815)436-1996 to receive free informational brochures and information or to set an appointment for individualized analysis of your specific situation. 

©2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Considering A Trust

Agnes wants to be sure her adult children don’t have any trouble selling her rental property and cashing in her other assets after her death.  Since they both live out of state, she really doesn’t want them to have to do any court proceedings here in Illinois to do it.

Her friend, Dick, suggests that she see an attorney about getting a living trust.  “But I’m not ready to pay a bank to be in charge of my property yet,” Agnes answered him, dismayed. 

“I don’t think a bank would be involved at all,” Dick said, “and you need to do something to make things easier even if it’s not a living trust.  Go see an estate planning attorney, and ask how you can make it easier.”

Unless Agnes wants a bank in control, there is in fact no reason that a bank would be involved, just as Dick had thought.  Agnes will learn in the next few columns about the three hats she could wear herself by serving as grantor, trustee and beneficiary, if she decides to use a living trust to make things easier and less expensive for her children after she passes away.

For answers about living trusts, wills or probate for yourself or someone you know who needs help with estate planning, call our office at (815)436-1996 to receive free informational brochures and information, or to set an appointment for individualized analysis of your specific situation. 

© 2015 Gruber Law Office, Ltd.


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