Thanks for your response, and I will write to you personally at some point, thank you.
Besides my own,I have an interest in exploding this subject with the many points of views by attorneys and specialists in the field, as a service to our readers of this fine website we all moderate.
As I said, I have attended several estate planning seminars and it bothers me to see so many people leave in total confusion and dismay.
Hope the information below will stimulate some meaningful discussions:
Check this out https://www.trustgordon.com/QandA.htm
And this https://www.trustgordon.com/MandM.htm
And this https://www.trustgordon.com/Default.htm
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Perhaps the all-time greatest myth concerning estate planning is that a Last Will and Testament avoids probate.
Most everyone realizes that probate is bad news. Consequently, when attorneys urge their clients to invest in a will, many clients naturally assume that the Last Will and Testament the attorney is recommending will avoid the cost and headaches of probate.
However, less than 1 percent of the clients are told by the attorney that a will is an automatic ticket to Probate Court.
Thus, rather than being a magnanimous gesture on the attorney's part to save the client's estate money by avoiding probate, the strategy has always been just the opposite: Set the attorney up to receive fat and easy probate fees at the death of unenlightened clients!
You have bought into an ages-old trap that will create 12 to 24 months of frustration and delay in Probate Court for your loved ones. Plus, you will have sacrificed 5 to 15 percent of your heir’s inheritances to court costs and attorney fees.
To avoid probate it is necessary to move the assets out of your name into the name of someone or something that does not die when you do. Then, at your death, nothing happens. The assets belong to somebody else.
That "somebody else" will then be able to withdraw the assets from the safekeeping of the financial custodians at any time they please and do one of two things with them:
1. Give them to your heirs as they verbally promised to do - or
2. Let their greed get in the way and spend the money on themselves!
As the maker of your trust you will draw a simple written agreement with the trustee or manager of your trust to assure that he or she will manage the trust according to your wishes.
But how do you maintain control over assets you no longer own?
You appoint yourself and, if you are married, your spouse as the trustees of the trust!
That means that as the maker of the trust you get to write rules that allow you as the trustee of the trust to do as you please with the trust assets even though those assets no longer belong to you.
To help justify their $1,500 to $3,000 fees for drawing trust documents, attorneys attempt to convey the idea that the transfer of assets to the trust is a time-consuming and difficult procedure that will require the attorney’s assistance. Don't believe it!
You will need to show your financial custodian two or three pages from your trust contract before the financial custodian can transfer your assets to the trust. The two requirements of your trust contract are:
1. The naming of a trustee (or manager) to manage the trust
2 The naming of a successor trustee to take over the management of the trust when the original trustee - you - is dead
Nothing else is required to make a legal trust contract.
Hundred-page trust contracts drawn by attorneys almost always contain pointless financial details, useless asset descriptions, and needless legalese.
Invariably, the simpler the trust contract, the better the trust you have. Superfluous trust packages packed with needless information require frequent amending each time you change any one of the numerous, needless details or buy, sell or trade an asset.
Attorney fees to write such amendments generally range from $150 to $500, depending on the complexity of the amendment.
It is important to understand that trust assets are identified by what is written on the titles and deeds of the assets, not what is written in the trust contract. There is absolutely no need for a properly constructed trust contract to formally list the assets owned by the trust.
It is, however, a courtesy to the successor trustee to clip to the trust contract an informal list that not only identifies trust assets but the location of the title or deed of each asset.
Listing the assets directly in the trust contract has absolutely no legal merit whatsoever and serves only to 1) needlessly add to the length of the contract for which the attorney can charge and 2) reveal to your attorney your approximate net worth which gives the attorney a guide as to what he/she thinks you can afford.
You prove that you have complied with the two requirements of naming a trustee and a successor trustee simply by showing the trust contract to your financial custodians.
It does not matter if an attorney has drawn the contract or if you have done it for yourself. In fact, the identity of the person or law firm that wrote the contract is none of the financial custodian's business.
If your financial custodians are satisfied that your trust contract contains these two basic elements listed above they should be able to transfer the assets out of your name and into the name of your trust within five minutes.
You don’t need an attorney to transfer assets to a trust any more than you needed an attorney to assist you in opening your checking account.
The same procedure used to open a checking account is used to transfer the asset to a trust! Your financial custodians will be happy to make the change for you. You need only request it.
A single, memorized statement will set the whole process in motion. You simply say to your banker or other financial custodian:
"I would like to open a new account today. It will be in the name of my new Living Trust."
That's all it takes! At that point your financial custodian will pick up the ball and run with it while you sit there and watch. All you are doing is opening a new account, transferring your assets from the old account to the new account, and then closing your old account. In effect, you are simply taking the money out of one pocket and putting it in another.
Real estate is transferred into the trust with a quitclaim deed that you can pick up at almost any office supply store for about $3 and then fill out on your dining room table in 10 minutes using information off your present deed or tax notice. You will then have the quitclaim deed recorded at the country register of deeds office in or near the courthouse.
In so many words the quitclaim deed will say that for a consideration of less than $100, John and Jane Doe convey the property described herein to the Doe Family Trust, John and Jane Doe, Trustees.
A "successor trustee" (usually one or all of your adult children, some other close relative, or your most devoted friend) appointed in the trust contract by you while you were alive steps in at your death and becomes the new trustee.
To understand the legalities of a Living Trust you must have a firm grasp on two factors:
1. What your trust is trying to accomplish
2. The long-standing fiduciary laws by which all financial custodians must abide.
To say that your trust is trying to accomplish the "avoidance of probate" is not enough. What you really are trying to accomplish is to convince your financial custodians that they can safely release your assets to your heirs after your die, free from the fear of lawsuit by disgruntled and disinherited heirs, without the need of a guarantee from Probate Court. That is the name of the game!
Hence no court, no attorney, no judge has anything to say about the legality of your trust. The magic moment when you trust becomes legal is that instant when your financial custodian accepts your assets for safekeeping in an account owned by your trust.
That acceptance of your assets by your financial custodian guarantees that those assets must be released to the control of your successor trustee immediately upon your death.
That is what you set out to accomplish:
the release of your assets after your die, free from the fear of lawsuit by disgruntled and disinherited heirs, without the need of a guarantee from Probate Court.
A Living Trust contract does not require registry or recording with any municipality, court or county. The agreement is a private contract between two people: the trust maker and the trustee.
Requirement to record a private contract would make its contents public record which would be unconstitutional. Remember, there is no way your trust could remain unknown to your beneficiaries because the assets must be registered in the name of the trust with your financial custodians.
Assets that name a beneficiary on the title of the asset (including assets that include a POD or TOD, i.e. Payment on Death or Transfer on Death) such as insurance policies, annuities, 401Ks, IRAs, etc. need not be placed in the trust, but should be reviewed to make sure contingency beneficiaries have been listed on them.
By naming your trust as a contingent beneficiary, the asset will flow into the trust and be distributed by the terms of the trust in the event that both trust maker and the primary beneficiary (usually the spouse) die in a common accident.
Assets do not require an evaluation when placed in the trust nor should assets be formally listed in the trust contract.
However, as a helpful courtesy to your successor trustee, list your assets informally on a separate piece of paper and attach it to the trust contract with a paper clip or staple.
Trust assets should be evaluated immediately after the surviving spouse dies.
Automobiles, boats and recreational vehicles generally pass to the heirs outside of probate in most states. Yet, to avoid possible misunderstandings, it is wise to place such items in the name of the trust.
Why then does less that 15 percent of the population have a Living Trust?
Aside from the fact that a few people are still unaware of Living Trusts and their benefits, I would venture that personal greed plays a major role.
Most folks quickly realize that a Living Trust holds no advantages for the grantor (maker) of the trust! Like providing your children with a college education, the advantages are realized almost exclusively by the beneficiaries of the trust. Perhaps that is why they are referred to as the beneficiaries.
Thus, in the end the decision to act always gets back to how important your children are to you - and how you would want to be remembered by your children.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>