Kathryn T. Joseph & Associates, Inc.
216-245-0504

Common mistakes in preparing a living trust

There are two major errors that a person in Ohio creating a living trust should watch out for. One is failing to fund the trust, and the other is failing to involve successor trustees.

Living trusts have a number of uses in an estate plan. They can keep the estate plan private and out of probate. They can also be useful if the creator is incapacitated because the successor trustee can step in and manage the assets. However, sometimes a person will create the trust document and then take no steps to add assets to it. This makes the document useless. With no assets in it, the assets will instead go through probate and be distributed according to the terms of the person's will.

To add real estate to a trust, the deed must be changed, and for vehicles, the titles have to be re-registered. People should check with individual financial institutions about paperwork for adding accounts to a trust.

It is important to bring in successor trustees early on so that they understand the terms and aims of the trust. These trustees should also know where all the paperwork related to the trust is. A person might consider introducing trustees to individuals at financial institutions.

There are several other considerations people should keep in mind when preparing an estate plan. One is to make sure their beneficiary designations do not contradict the terms of a will or trust. Beneficiary designations, which might be used on retirement accounts, life insurance policies and other assets, override wills and trusts. People might also want to review their estate plan, including beneficiary designations, every few years. As families change with milestones such as births, marriages and deaths, an estate plan might need to change as well. In some cases, it might also be necessary to appoint new trustees.

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Kathryn T. Joseph & Associates, Inc.
Executive Commons West
29425 Chagrin Blvd.
Suite 305
Cleveland, OH 44122

Toll Free: 888-335-6650
Phone: 216-245-0504
Fax: 216-765-8817
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