Do You Need A Lawyer To Set Up A Trust?

Do You Need A Lawyer To Set Up A Trust

Maybe you’re thinking about how to better manage your property, or you want to make sure your family will be taken care of after you’re gone. If you’re having these thoughts, you might want to think about setting up a trust. A trust is basically a transfer of legal title from the owner (the grantor, trustor, or settlor) to an institution or person (a trustee). The trustee then administers the trust according to the trust terms for the benefit of a beneficiary. There are various factors to consider when setting up a trust. These factors include the size of the estate, the age, and marital status of the grantor. When considering an estate plan, many people contemplate whether a trust is necessary or a will alone is suitable. The choice is often based on cost. Depending on whether an attorney is hired, a trust can be considerably more costly than a will. The key is finding a balance between cost and creating an estate plan that fits your family’s needs.

Living Trusts

A living trust is a legal entity that holds title to and manages assets for an intended beneficiary. A living trust is distinguishable from other trusts in that you, as the grantor, can make changes to the trust or revoke it entirely during your lifetime. You can also act as the initial trustee of your living trust. Living trusts are most often used to avoid the probate process that comes along with passing property through a will. Because assets are owned by the trust, and not by you, they pass by the terms of the trust upon your death, making probate unnecessary.

Hire an Attorney

Trusts are complicated documents and estate planning attorneys can help you navigate through the legal nuances. Attorney’s fees are generally the bulk of the cost associated with creating a trust. The cost for an attorney to draft a living trust can range from $1,000 to $1,500 for individuals and $1,200 to $2,500 for married couples. These are only estimates; legal fees vary based on the attorney and the circumstances. Rates may differ depending on the state in which you live. The cost of hiring an attorney to draft a trust can be five to six times that of drafting a will.

Living Trust as Part of an Estate Plan

If you decide that hiring an attorney is the way to go, you will likely get more for your money than just the living trust. Living trusts are most often used as part of a comprehensive estate plan that can include wills, powers of attorney and health care directives. You should find out exactly what is included in the attorney’s fee prior to agreeing to any proposal.

Titling Assets to the Trust

In order to pass through the trust and avoid probate, assets must be re-titled into the name of the trust. For instance, if you want to place your home in the trust, you must change the deed so that the trust is named as owner. Once the deed is changed, it should be recorded with the registrar of deeds, and is subject to the same fees as any real estate transaction. These fees vary by state. You can check with your local registrar of deeds for your state’s fees associated with a deed transfer. Whether or not you choose to hire an attorney to draft your living trust, you will be responsible for the expense of titling assets to the trust. A living trust is an estate planning document created during one’s lifetime. A revocable living trust goes into effect during one’s lifetime and provides a way to manage one’s assets during his/her lifetime and to dispose of assets after they pass away. There are many reasons a living trust is preferable to a last will and testament. For example, when you create a living trust, you can avoid the time and expense associated with probate. While the estate’s assets are in probate, they may be frozen – a living trust avoids this as well. Individuals also choose to make a living trust to minimize tax consequences and for privacy concerns.

Basics Of A Living Trust

A revocable living trust includes the following:
• The name of maker of the trust (known as the grantor, settler and/or trustor);
• The name of the individual responsible for managing the trust and its assets (the trustee – this is typically yourself);
• The name of the individual who will take over the responsibility of managing the trust after you pass away (the successor trustee);
• The names of the individuals or organizations you leave your trust property to (the beneficiaries);
• The name of the individual in charge of managing the assets you leave to minor beneficiaries (also called the trustee).

As long as your living trust contains these basic elements, you can make your own living trust. Some choose to hire a lawyer, and more specifically, an estate planning attorney to prepare their estate planning documents, but this is not always necessary. Many individuals are successful in making a living trust on their own without the use of a living trust attorney. If you are interested in making your own living trust, be sure to sign the trust document you created before a notary public and look up the law in your state as to whether additional witnesses are required. You will then need to fund the trust by transferring your assets into the trust. Some states require real estate deed transfer documents to be prepared by an attorney so be sure to check with your local land records office for this as well.

Benefits Of Hiring An Estate Planning Lawyer

Individuals with complex estate planning needs should consider hiring an attorney to prepare their living trust. You may consider hiring an living trust lawyer if you’ve a complex estate plan. For example if your plan includes:
• generation skipping
• conditions to beneficiaries,
• beneficiaries with special needs or receiving government assistance,
• high dollar life insurance policies, and
• assistance with trust funding (which is the transferring of your assets to the trust)
One of the most significant drawbacks to hiring an attorney is the cost of retaining an estate planning attorney or firm to prepare your living trust. If you are interested in creating a living trust, a great first step is to do a little research to familiarize yourself with the basics and determine whether you are able to prepare your estate planning documents on your own or if you would benefit from hiring an attorney.

A trust is a way of holding and managing property, whereby the person setting up the trust (called the grantor, settlor, or trustor) transfers property to a trustee, who manages the property for the benefit of others (called beneficiaries). A trust is used as part of a comprehensive estate plan, along with other documents such as a will, power of attorney, and healthcare power of attorney.
Why to Set Up a Trust
A trust is set up to achieve certain benefits that cannot be achieved with a will. These can include:
• Avoiding probate
• Avoiding or delaying taxes
• Protecting your assets from creditors of both you and your beneficiaries
• Maintaining privacy regarding your assets
• Exercising greater control over your assets than might be achieved with an ordinary will
• Allowing you to qualify for certain benefits, such as Medicaid for long-term care
• Providing financial support for a person with a disability, while allowing the person to receive government disability benefits
If you are looking to achieve one or more of these goals, you should consider setting up a trust. A will and a living trust do not serve exactly the same function. Depending upon your situation, you may only need a will. But if you decide that you need a living trust, you will also need a will. It’s important to know which choice is better for you.
How to Set Up a Trust
• Creating the Trust Agreement: The grantor creates a trust agreement, which is a legal document that designates the grantor, the trustee, and the beneficiaries, and outlines how the trust assets are to be managed and distributed. Part of this step is deciding who you want to name as beneficiaries, how you want the trust income and assets distributed to them, and who you want to name as trustee (or trustees).
• Funding the Trust: The second step, called funding the trust, is for the grantor to transfer assets to the trust. A trust agreement is worthless unless the trust is funded. How this is done depends upon the nature of the property:

• Real estate: To transfer real estate, the grantor executes a deed that transfers the title to the property to the trust.
• Personal property with a title document: Some assets, such motor vehicles, boats, RVs, airplanes, and mobile homes (also known as modular or manufactured homes) have some type of title document, which can be transferred to the trust. This can also be done with stocks and bonds.
• Other personal property: All other property without a title document can be transferred by simply writing a description of the property on a piece of paper (such as “all of my household goods,” or “my coin collection”), and making a note that it is being transferred to the trust.

Time to Set Up a Trust

In general, it is possible to set up a functioning trust in a few days to a couple of weeks. If a lawyer creates your trust, the time will vary depending upon how quickly you can get an appointment, how quickly you can get the required information submitted, and how long it takes the lawyer to create the trust agreement and take any action needed to fund the trust. If you create your own trust, the time will also vary according to how quickly you can become educated about trusts.

How Much It Costs to Set Up a Trust

If a lawyer sets up your trust, it will likely cost from $2,000 to $7,000, depending upon the complexity of your financial situation. For example, some situations might require a revocable trust for some assets, and an irrevocable trust for other assets. A comprehensive estate plan (which may include a will, power of attorney, living will, healthcare power of attorney, and changing how some assets are owned) will cost more than a single trust document. While you can make a trust by yourself using self-help books or online guides often, creating a trust document is confusing and complex. Having the right support, either through an online service or attorney review of your trust, can give you the confidence you need to know you’re setting it up correctly.

Setting Up A Trust With An Attorney

Setting up a trust, unlike leaving your assets to someone via will, ensures that your assets are used precisely as you intend them to be for the beneficiaries of the trust. For extensive estates with a large variety of assets, this can be a complicated process requiring the use of estate planners, financial managers and attorneys to make certain the trust parameters are fully fleshed out. For those with less extensive estates, you can forgo the expert help, instead using a living trust kit. With the trust kit you use prepared document templates, providing information specific to your financial holdings and desires. The document produced is legally binding, and its use saves you legal fees when you feel an attorney’s advice is unnecessary. The living trust kit contains trust document templates with boilerplate language that enables you to set up a simple trust without outside assistance. Find a software-based version if possible, as it will allow you to follow on-screen prompts for the entry of information pertaining to the trust, explaining the process of establishing the trust as you fill out the forms. Determine if you wish to create a living trust that takes effect before your death or a deceased trust that only begins after your estate goes through probate. If you choose a living trust you’ll also need to decide between creating a revocable or irrevocable trust. With an irrevocable trust you’ll need the agreement of the beneficiaries as well as the trustees to make any changes, whereas a revocable trust is dissolvable with the issuance of a letter of revocation, allowing more leeway in making any modifications necessary.

Trust And Estate Lawyer Free Consultation

When you need help to draft a will, trust or estate plan, please call Ascent Law LLC for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Make a Will

Make a Will

A will is a legal document that allows you, among other things, to designate how and to whom your property is distributed when you pass away. A will also allows you to name a guardian to care for your minor children, if you become unable to do so. A will is a part of estate planning. If you’ve thought about creating a will, then you’ve probably wondered about the types of instructions that you can include, about how a will becomes valid, and about the forms of property that can be distributed. This section provides resources related to making a will, including an overview of the process, steps to help you begin planning for a will, a sample will, and an explanation of common errors to avoid.

Choosing an Executor

One of the most important decisions to make when planning your will is choosing a competent and trustworthy executor. This person is entrusted with carrying out your estate instructions, and executors typically manage the estate’s day-to-day affairs and make sure that estate bills are paid. As you decide on an executor, keep in mind that this person should be someone that your family members and heirs can work with.

Assets and Other Property

People tend to associate wills with the distribution of a person’s assets and other property at death. This is certainly an important component of a will, although there’s more to it. As you begin to plan your will, remember that some forms of property cannot be included. For example, you cannot distribute money that’s held in a joint account, and generally, life insurance benefits cannot be included in a will (these payments automatically go to the policy’s beneficiary).

Guardian for Minor Children

Another important benefit of having a will is the ability to name a legal guardian to care for your children, should you become unable to do so. Although this is an issue that many people choose to avoid thinking about, by naming a trusted guardian for your children, you’re helping to ensure that they will have a bright future, even if the worst case scenario occurs.

Valid Wills

State laws vary, so it’s best to speak with an attorney if you have specific questions about your state’s procedures and requirements for wills. In general, you must be of “sound mind” when you created your will, and you must have voluntarily signed it, meaning that no one coerced or tricked you into doing so. At least one person is usually required to serve as a witness when you sign your will, and if your will violates a law — such as a state heirship law that requires you to name your children as heirs — portions of your will can be disregarded, or the entire will considered invalid.

Call Us For Help

If your estate is relatively simple, you may be able to draft your own will. However, if you have questions, or if your estate is complex, you should speak with an estate planning lawyer. He or she can answer your questions and help you to create a suitable will that’s clear in stating your instructions. This section provides a link for finding an experienced estate planning lawyer in your area.

Free Consultation with a Utah Will Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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How Do I Get The Most Money For My Personal Injury Case?

How Do I Get The Most Money For My Personal Injury Case

How do I get the most money for my personal injury case? This is a question I frequently hear when I talk with someone who has been in a car accident. The question is justified as there are often past medical bills to pay, future medical bills, and sometimes a lifetime of suffering.

The first issue we have to address is what are the insurance company policy limits? According to Utah law, when you are in a car accident, the other driver is required to have insurance.  The insurance of the other driver will have limits on the amount they will pay on behalf of their driver. The limits are typically broken down into separate categories for bodily injury and property damage. For example, in Utah the minimum is $25,000 per person or $65,000 combined for bodily injury. However, the driver may have insurance limits that are much higher, sometimes $100,000 per person or sometimes even a $500,000 combined single limit. Commercial vehicles, such as most semi-trucks, will have insurance limits even higher. It is not unusual to see a $1,000,000 policy or even a $5,000,000 policy.

If the other driver does not have sufficient insurance or have any insurance, another type of claim can be made, which will be addressed elsewhere.

The next step to maximize your recovery by getting the necessary and proper treatment. If your doctor or the ER doctor recommends that you see a specialist, you should do this, even if you don’t have health insurance. We can arrange for financing or liens so that our clients can get the treatment that they need. If you do not follow your doctor’s recommendations, the insurance company might point out that you are being non-compliant.

Sometimes it is also important to get a second opinion. Some doctors can be dismissive of patients who have been involved in car accidents. I have even seen this in the ER. Maybe the doctor or the ER are overwhelmed on that particular day and they just want to get the patient out as soon as possible so they can treat other patients. In those situations, we can help you find a doctor to get a second opinion. It is always better to know now for sure whether or not you have been insured, rather than to find out 5 years later after you have already settled your case.

In addition to these above, there are numerous strategy options that I pursue for my clients to enhance their recovery. Some of these are far too detailed for this blog and some involve complicated legal maneuvers. There is a reason statics show that those clients who have an attorney representing them often have settlements three times higher than those without an attorney.

I just recently help a woman in West Valley City who had been in a car accident. The insurance company offered her nothing at first, as she had gone through an intersection on a yellow light. After a few months of fighting and arguing with the insurance company, I was able to get them to offer their policy limit. Their offer went from $0 to the limit. That is what our office can do for you.

Free Initial Consultation with a Personal Injury Lawyer

It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. Legal problems come to everyone. If you ever have a car crash, or need an Injury Lawyer, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Trust Types

Trust Types

A trust can be an important tool for anyone looking for help managing money and property during his or her lifetime. A trust can also be a good tool to use in planning what will happen to your money and property when you pass away because a trust can allow your family to inherit from you without having to go through the long and expensive probate process. Finally, trusts can provide various tax benefits, including lowering your overall tax liability in some circumstances.

Living Trusts

Living trusts are trusts that are created during the lifetime of the person who set up the trust – usually referred to as the grantor or settlor. The grantor sets up an arrangement in which a person (the trustee) manages and administers the trust property for the benefit of a beneficiary. The most common reason for a living trust is to avoid the probate process, which is required to administer a will. A living trust is a good option for a parent who wants to provide some income and security for his or her child, but doesn’t believe that the child could handle the full amount of property responsibly. Finally, a living trust can also help an individual to reduce taxes and regulate the use of his or her assets, which can be important if the settlor ever becomes incapacitated.

Tax Benefits of Trusts

Most trusts come with various tax incentives. There can be reduced estate taxes, for example, for more complicated living trusts. Another type of trust that has tax benefits is the AB or marital bypass trust. The AB trust is only available to married couples and it allows them to maximize their federal estate tax exemption. The basic idea is that upon one spouse’s death, his or her property goes into an irrevocable trust (trust A) and the surviving spouse’s share goes into trust B. The irrevocable trust can be used for the benefit of the surviving spouse, even though he or she doesn’t actually own the property. Once the surviving spouse dies, the couple’s children are able to receive the property from both trust A and trust B without having to pay taxes.

Charitable trusts

The most common being a charitable remainder trust – also provide tax benefits. In a charitable remainder trust, a settlor sets up a trust and puts the money he or she wants to give to charity, which must be approved by the IRS, in that trust. The charity serves as the trustee and pays a portion of the accumulated income of the trust funds back to the grantor, or other named person. The trust terminates upon the grantor’s death and the property donated will go to the charity. One major benefit to the grantor’s heirs is that the money and property in a charitable trust is not included when determining the deceased person’s estate tax.

Hiring a Lawyer

A trust involves a lot of paperwork and can be difficult to set up properly. Trusts have various rules and requirements in order to be valid, and an experienced estate planning attorney would make sure you comply with the necessary rules. In addition, an attorney can help you choose and set up the type of trust that will best fit your needs.

Free Consultation with a Utah Estate Planning Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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Trusts or Special Power of Appointment

Trusts or Special Power of Appointment

Once a lawsuit is filed against you and a plaintiff’s attorney discovers the existence of a domestic trust, the outcome of the suit is left to a judge or jury.  Make no mistake about it, a special power of appointment cannot protect assets held in a domestic trust if a judge or jury decides to find an exception to the law or, worse, if the judge or jury decides to make an example of your situation.  Leaving your fate to the judgment of strangers is dangerous.  Deterring litigation and keeping control is a better

Offshore Asset Protection Puts You in Control

The main problem with relying solely on a special power of appointment is that assets held in trust and the trust itself are subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. court system.  If a U.S. court decides to disregard a trust, the assets held by that trust are easily accessible.  That’s not where you want to find yourself.  Offshore asset protection removes both the trust and the assets held in trust from the reach of domestic judges.

Cook Islands Trust Law Deters Litigation

Consider an example from the Cook Islands. If Mr. Jones sets up a trust in the Cook Islands and is later sued, plaintiff’s attorneys are not likely to attack the trust for a number of reasons.  First, the only way to invalidate a trust in the Cook Islands is with a judgment from a Cook Islands’ court.  The Cook Islands will not recognize such a judgment from a U.S. court.  The only way for a plaintiff’s attorney to get such a judgment is to sue in the Cook Islands, which is incredibly expensive, since it requires plaintiff’s to front all the expenses of litigation and does not allow plaintiff’s attorneys to collect contingency fees.

In other words, attorneys attacking a trust in the Cook Islands have to either bill their clients by the hour or work for free (after fronting the cost of international litigation), both of which are expensive propositions.  Other benefits include a hard two year statute of limitations, which means that Cook Islands trust cannot be attacked after it is has been in existence for two years!

Special Power of Appoint Revisited

It is true, as we wrote previously, that a special power of appointment contained in a domestic trust provides some level of asset protection.  It does not, however, provide comprehensive asset protection.  A savvy plaintiff’s attorney will easily be able to discover the existence of such a trust, unless you are willing to lie under oath, which is never advisable.  In addition, plaintiffs lawyers have incentives to attack domestic trusts, which leaves the assets in such trusts subject to the whims of the U.S. legal system.

An offshore asset protection trust makes litigation very expensive and, therefore, deters lawsuits in the first place.  Even if an offshore trust is attacked, the laws in many foreign jurisdictions are stacked so in favor of asset protection that an adverse judgment is almost inconceivable.

Combining Forces Offshore & Power of Appointment

While an offshore trust provides the most comprehensive form of protection in itself, there is nothing to prevent you from seeking to combine that protection with a special power of appointment.  If you have questions about how to accomplish that goal, ask an asset protection attorney.

Free Consultation with a Utah Estate Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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Is a Living Trust Necessary?

Is a Living Trust Necessary

Living trusts are a great way to leave your loved ones property without having to go through the expensive hassle of probate. Probate refers to the process of a special court distributing one’s property to heirs after death. This can be a very lengthy and expensive process, especially with larger estates. There are a number of ways to avoid probate, including pay-on-death bank accounts, holding joint tenancy with your partner, life insurance policies, gifting assets before death, and naming beneficiaries on your retirement accounts. All of these are limited to certain types of property. A living trust has no such limitations. Living trusts allow you to avoid probate, work within the broad planning flexibility a will offers, and gift pretty much all of the property of your estate to trusts.

However, a living trust still may not be necessary in your case, depending on your age, size of your estate, and marital status. As wonderful and beneficial as they are, living trusts do have drawbacks. Setting up a living trust takes longer to establish, involves more routine upkeep and maintenance, and is harder to alter, compared to a last will and testament. It is best to use a lawyer when setting up a living trust, but this can cost more than $1,000. Even after setting up a living trust, you still should create a last will and testament, as a back-up. The benefits of a living trust can still outweigh the drawbacks, however, if setting up a living trust is right for your situation.

Consider the following factors and decide if you should set up a living trust.

Your Age May Be a Reason Not to Create a Trust

Because of the cost and energy of maintaining it, setting up a living trust may not be right for you if you are under the age of 55 and relatively healthy. A living trust serves you no benefit during your lifetime. A young, healthy person will probably not have to worry about the costs of probate for years to come. Until then, creating a will that is easier to create and maintain will suffice in transferring your property should something happen to you unexpectedly. Furthermore, recent techniques in avoiding probate are becoming more and more accepted. As you get older, these techniques will more than likely become even more common, mooting the need for you to worry about living trusts.

Do You Have a Small Estate?

The bigger your estate, the more assets you have at risk of losing in probate. Therefore, the wealthier you are, the more you can potentially save by avoiding probate. The types of assets also make a difference. If you own something, like a business that would be harmed if tied up in probate proceedings, going forward with creating a living trust might be sensible. Even if you are young and healthy, it would be smart to avoid risking your executor having to report on your business to a judge for a long length of time.

What is your Marital status?

Married couples who plan on leaving their property to each other have less of an interest in setting up a living trust, especially if you own your large assets jointly. Probate is not necessary for those types of assets. For property that is not owned jointly, most probate procedures are pretty good at speeding up the process for surviving spouses, which also makes it cheaper.

Not Sure If You Should Set Up a Living Trust? Call an Estate Lawyer

There are numerous reasons you might want to set up a living trust. Talk to an experienced trust attorney to find out if a living trust is right for your particular situation.

Free Consultation with a Utah Estate Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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How to Be the Personal Representative of an Estate

How to Be the Personal Representative of an Estate

Probate Law in Utah is a vast subject and your will has an important function beyond providing instructions for the distribution of your property. It also names the person who will serve as the executor your estate. The executor has the job of paying your final bills, and distributing any remaining assets. We’ve brushed up against this topic before here.

When someone dies without a will, it’s called dying “intestate.” In these situations, no one may have legal authority to close the deceased’s estate. Probate court can step in to select someone to perform these duties or a loved-one can volunteer to fill the vacancy. This court-appointed representative is known as an administrator. The duties performed by an administrator are essentially the same as an executor.

These basic steps will show you how to file for executor of an estate without a will:

Determine Your Priority for Appointment

Probate rules are established by your state and include identifying who can serve as an administrator and the priority of appointment. A surviving spouse usually is given first choice at filling this role. If they decline, the deceased’s children are next in line. When there is no spouse or children, a family members may be selected. If more than one person with priority wants to serve as administrator, and the heirs can’t agree, then the court will choose.

Many states have laws prohibiting certain classes of people from serving as an administrator / executor. In Texas, for example, a person who is a non-resident can’t be appointed. Neither can someone found guilty of a felony, even if it occurred 30 years prior. In some states, when no family member has come forward to administer the estate, then a creditor of the deceased may serve as administrator.

Receive Written Waivers From Other Candidates

You need to receive a written waiver from other candidates for administrator that have higher priority. For example, if you are the brother of the deceased, you may need to get a written waiver from the deceased’s spouse and children before you can be appointed administrator.

Contact Court in the County Where Deceased Resided

In most states, probate will occur in the county where the deceased had residence. You need to contact that court to understand their filing requirements and timelines. Frequently you will need to file a Petition for Probate along with the Notice of Petition to Administer Estate.

File the Petition for Administration

The Petition will require you to supply a certified copy of the decedent’s death certificate, an estimate of the gross value of the estate, and the names and addresses of the decedent’s heirs. You will pay a fee to petition for administration.

Attend the Probate Hearing

Many states do not require a formal hearing unless there is a contest to select the administrator, or the administrator in not next of kin. Administrators and executors are commonly given an oath recognizing their fiduciary duties to the estate and the court.

Secure a Probate Bond

It is common court practice to require a bond to protect the interest of the deceased’s estate, its heirs and creditors. The bond also protects the administrator to ensure they fulfill their duties and responsibilities.

Free Consultation with a Utah Probate Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have a business law issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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Tax Incentives for a Charitable Remainder Trust

Tax Incentives for a Charitable Remainder Trust

When you feel that you’re ready to make a substantial gift to a charity, you may want to consider a charitable trust, which is a special type of trust. In addition to providing a benefit to your favorite charity, it also allows you to donate generously while giving you and your heirs tax benefits. I can tell you as a Probate Lawyer, that if you don’t plan now, you could end up in probate later.

However, if you don’t think that the time is right for you to make such a large donation, then it probably isn’t time for you to consider a charitable trust, either.

Charitable trusts are irrevocable. When you consider starting such a trust, you need to keep this in mind. Once you start the trust and it comes into operation, you cannot take back what you have given.

How a Charitable Trust Works

A charitable remainder trust is the most common type of charitable trust. To set up a charitable remainder trust, you must first set up a trust and transfer to that trust all the property that you want to donate to charity. The charity that you choose must be approved by the Internal Revenue Service, which generally means that the charity must be exempt from taxes.

The charity will serve as the trustee of the charitable remainder trust and will be charged with the duty of investing, protecting and managing the trust funds. The charity will pay you, or someone you have named, a portion of the income that the trust funds accumulates. These payments will last for a set number of years, or for the remainder of your life, depending upon how you drew the documents up. The trust will end at the time of your death and the property that you donated will go to the charity.

Three Tax Advantages for a Charitable Trust

In addition to assisting your charity of choice, a charitable remainder trust also gives you three primary tax benefits.

First, after you have set up and donated to a charitable trust, you are allowed to take an income tax deduction and spread it over five years, for the value of your gift to charity. However, you do not get to deduct dollar for dollar the amount that you initially gave. Instead, the IRS calculates your total deduction as the amount you originally gave minus what you can expect to receive as a return through interest payments. For example, if you gave $200,000 but are expecting to get back $100,000 in interest over the course of your life, your total deduction would have to be $100,000.

Second, because the property that you gave to the trust will go to the charity outright upon your death, the property will not be included in your estate for the purposes of determining your estate tax.

Third, and last, a charitable trust allows you to turn property that isn’t producing income into cash without paying a tax on any profits gained. For example, if Lee held 5000 shares of stock that had appreciated in value from $10/share to $100/share in the years that he held it, he could not sell off the stock without paying a capital gains tax on it. However, if Lee donates the stock to a charitable trust, the trust can sell the stock and not pay a tax on the sale. Lee’s charity can sell the $500,000 worth of stock, invest the money in a mutual fund, and pay Lee the interest from this fund for the rest of his life, all without capital gains tax. If Lee had decided to sell the $500,000 worth of shares by himself, he would have had to pay a capital gains tax on the proceeds.

Two Types of Income from a Charitable Trust

When you first set up a charitable trust, you will have a choice between two different ways of receiving an income from the fund.

Annuity Payments

First, you can opt for a fixed annuity. Under this option, you elect to receive a fixed dollar amount from the trust each year. Even if the trust has a bad year and ends up losing money, you will still receive the same amount of money you did in the years before. Once you set up how much you want the trust to pay you yearly, you cannot go back and change it.

There are a few considerations to take into account when determining how much to set annuity payments at. First, if you set it too low, you will never receive the full benefit of setting up a charitable trust, although your income tax deduction will be greater. Second, if you set the annuity too high, you may end up depleting the principal of the trust, thus leaving the charity with nothing at your death. Also, with annuities that are too high, your income tax deduction is lessened. Lastly, a charity is less likely to agree to be the trustee of a trust where annuity payments are too high because it may end up with nothing at the termination of the trust, having had to pay the entire principal in annuity payments.

Percentage Payments

Another, more common, option for payments is to set your annual payment as a percentage of the current value of the trust fund. No matter how much the trust made or lost in a year, you will still receive the same percentage share each year. As an example, Tony’s trust documents indicate that he will receive 5% of the value of the trust each year. So, at the end of every year, the trust will be re-appraised to find its current value and will pay 5% of that value to Tony.

This payment option is better suited to handling changing market conditions such as inflation. If the value of the dollar increases, your annual payments will reflect this change by also increasing. However, the Internal Revenue Service has ruled that a trust beneficiary must receive at least 5% of the value of the trust each year.

Here is an example that will hopefully clarify all of this information:

Suppose Rex is trying to figure out what to do with a bunch of stock he bought 10 years ago for $200,000. The stock is currently worth $4 million, but Rex sees little income from the stock as the dividends are small. One option for Rex would be to sell the stock off and invest the money in some sort of fund that would pay a larger income. However, if Rex decided to sell the stock, he would owe $570,000 in capital gains tax.

Another option Rex has is to set up a charitable trust with his favorite museum. He would donate the stock to the trust which would be able to sell the stock for a $3.8 million profit because of its tax exempt status. In addition, Rex would be able to claim an income tax deduction, spread over a period of five years, for his charitable donation.

The charity would then be in charge of investing and managing the $3.8 million. In addition, the trust document that Rex drew up requires the trust to pay Rex 7% of the value of the trust annually for the remainder of Rex’s life. During the first year the trust is in operation, Rex would receive $266,000. This amount will most likely change depending upon how well the trust succeeds in investing and managing the money. If the trust does well, Rex will be paid more each year.

Free Consultation with a Utah Estate Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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Birth Injury Claims and Medical Malpractice

Birth Injury Claims and Medical Malpractice

Having a baby is one of the most rewarding experiences of human life. After nine months of growth and care, a new life is brought into the world. Normally this experience is one of blessed joy; however, what happens when something goes wrong?

Birth injuries due to negligence are some of the most common drivers of medical malpractice lawsuits. If something happens to you or your unborn baby as a result of your doctor’s negligence, your doctor could be held liable for injuries or even wrongful death. If you suspect a birth injury could have otherwise been avoided, contact your local personal injury lawyer to see if you are eligible for compensation.

Birth injuries can affect either the mother or the unborn or newborn child. Common birth injuries include cerebral palsy, cranial and spinal cord injuries, fractures and bone injuries, infant brain damage, cephalohematoma and Erb’s Palsy. These injuries, while not uncommon in Provo or elsewhere, can typically be avoided through proper medical supervision. For example, cephalohematoma can be avoided by following proper vacuum extraction procedure. Bone fractures and physical deformities can also be prevented by avoiding excessive use of force during delivery.

In the case of many birth injuries, a doctor’s actions — or lack thereof — can be found directly responsible for you or your child’s injuries. For instance, in the case of infant wrongful death due to umbilical cord strangulation, the medical staff could have executed an emergency C-section in order to save the baby. In the eyes of a lawyer, failure to do so may result in liability for the child’s wrongful death.

In addition to being physically and emotionally draining, fetal injury and wrongful death cases are often difficult to prosecute. If you suspect that an injury sustained during childbirth could have reasonably been avoided, contact a local medical malpractice lawyer and discuss the best course of action for your situation.

THE SAD TRUTHS BEHIND AUTISM AND BIRTH INJURY

Truthfully, childbirth is one of life’s most beautiful, rewarding experiences. Whether you’re new to parenthood in Utah or are more than familiar with child rearing in other American states, welcoming a new child into the world is simply an unforgettable happening.

However, not all childbirths occur without their own respective flaws. Because I’m an injury lawyer, I’ve seen far too many hopeful adults, what should be a routine infant delivery turns into a series of heart-wrenching, emotional events, occasionally resulting in wrongful deaths. In fact, according to recent, in-depth research, there very well might be a strong link between attention deficits and birth injuries.

According to medical researcher Viola M. Frymann, at least 80 percent of children who battle ADD, ADHD or even Autism, underwent some sort of birth injury during the delivery process. She says: “The most common injuries occurred during the labor and delivery period, a time in which the nervous system can be severely damaged, leading to cognitive and psychological problems.”

Typical birth-related injuries include, yet aren’t limited to forceps and vacuum extraction complications, erroneous epidural administrations and complex umbilical cord issues. With wrongful deaths and incidents of medical malpractice abounding here in Utah and elsewhere, it’s important to pay attention and stand up for those who can’t formally defend themselves: infants.

Free Initial Consultation with an Injury Lawyer

If you need a personal injury lawyer in Utah, call Ascent Law for your free consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

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Putting a Trust in a Will

Putting a Trust in a Will

Putting a Trust in a Will

There must be a valid will to properly designate how and to whom a person’s property is distributed upon their death. If you would like to create a trust that will come into effect only after your death, consider putting a testamentary trust into your will. Read on to learn about how to place a testamentary trust in a will.

What Is a Testamentary Trust?

A testamentary trust is a type of express trust that is written in a will or in a document incorporated by reference into a will, which arises upon the death of the settlor. It specifies what assets or funds are to be distributed after the death of the settlor. Testamentary trusts are preferred over other types of trust because they can protect the assets from the immaturity of minor children or other family members.

Regarding testamentary trusts, the following parties are involved:

  • Settlor: is the person who creates the trust to transfer his or her assets to the beneficiaries. This person is also called the “grantor” or “trustor.”
  • Trustee: is the person who will handle the trust and manages the assets or the funds involved in the trust. A trustee holds the legal title to those assets.
  • Beneficiary(s): is a person or entity that receives a benefit from the trust. Beneficiaries of a testamentary trust are usually minor children, family members with disabilities, or anyone who inherits a large sum of money.
  • The probate court: is a court that has jurisdiction over the probate of wills and administration of estates. The probate court will check up on the trust and make sure it is being properly handled.

Creating a Testamentary Trust In a Will

To create a testamentary trust in a will, the settlor must designate a trustee and specify the beneficiaries. As mentioned above, a testamentary trust comes into effect not until the settlor dies. Thus, the testamentary trust must be contained in the settlor’s last (final) will, so the trust can be created upon the settlor’s death.

Then, the probate process will take place. A testamentary trust is not automatically created upon the settlor’s death. While other types of trusts may avoid probate, a testamentary trust must go through the probate process. The testamentary trust will come into effect upon the completion of this process.

After the provisions are reviewed by all parties, a trust will proceed to generate distributions. A trustee, chosen by the settlor, will manage the property or funds in the trust until the trust terminates. The trustee may be required to go to the probate court at least once a year and ensure the court that the trust is being handled in accordance to the will and state law.

Example of a Testamentary Trust in a Will

Let’s say you decide to include a testamentary trust in your will. You have a 3-year-old daughter and you want her to receive your assets after you die. You designate your uncle, Bob, as the trustee of your testamentary trust. You specified that upon your death, Bob will manage your assets for the benefit of your daughter until she reaches the age of 21. You want Bob to be in charge of giving your daughter monthly income for education and expenses. When your daughter turns 21, she will receive the remaining assets, and the trust will terminate.

Free Consultation with a Utah Estate Lawyer

If you are here, you probably have an estate issue you need help with, call Ascent Law for your free estate law consultation (801) 676-5506. We want to help you.

Michael R. Anderson, JD

Ascent Law LLC
8833 S. Redwood Road, Suite C
West Jordan, Utah
84088 United States

Telephone: (801) 676-5506

Ascent Law LLC

4.9 stars – based on 67 reviews


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