Estate Planning Law Firm in O’Fallon, MO
As legal professionals at our estate planning law firm in O’Fallon, MO the Legal Law Center, we tend to encourage our clients to name a professional fiduciary such as a trust company, trust lawyer, or financial institution to serve as the trustee of a revocable trust. Many choose to name a family member to serve in this capacity instead. What some of these people don’t realize is the significant responsibility that comes along with acting as a trustee. Failure to know what these fiduciary duties are can lead to an unexpected liability on the part of the trustee.
Anyone who wants more information about the role of a trustee, can contact an estate planning attorney in O’Fallon, MO today.
The Duties of a Trustee
As an attorney at our estate planning law firm in O’Fallon might explain to you, trustees must know what their duties are and conduct them in a proper manner. These duties include:
Creating Legal Documents
Even though a trust prevents the court from getting involved in the administration of assets, the trustee will be responsible for drafting and filing certain documents. For example, if the truste includes a property, and the current title names the deceased person, the trustee will need to update the title.
Affidavit of Successor Trustee
Affidavit of Successor Trustee (AST) is a legal document that can be created, signed, and filed by the trustee. It basically shows that the deceased is no longer alive, and is recorded in all counties where there is real property. The property remains under the trust, but the new records will name the trustees who will now have the ability to sell or transfer the property (unless otherwise stated in the trust).
The AST should be filed with any financial institutions associated with the trust as well. This will allow the trustee and heirs to access the accounts, manage investments, and use the funds to pay various expenses.
Act in the Benefit and Interest of Beneficiaries
In many cases, children will be named as the trustee, and also the beneficiary of a trust. It is important for the trustee to not overstep their authoritarian role. Rather, they should act in good faith at all times and in the best interest of all beneficiaries.
In a trust that provides an equal distribution of the trust, the trustee/beneficiary, cannot choose to move into the home or buy it from the trust without all beneficiaries agreeing to it in writing. An attorney at our MO estate planning law firm in O’Fallon can explain a considerable body of laws that define the roles, deuties, responsibilities, and expectations of a trustee who is also a named beneficiary.
Manage Financial Responsibilities
Prior to the distribution of the trust, the trustee and also their attorney from our Missouri estate planning law firm, should gain an understanding of their financial obligations in relation to the trust. For instance, if a mortgage or taxes needs to be paid, this should be done as soon as possible. To protect the trustee against any liability, he or she must notify creditors of the death. Creditors will have so many months to claim a debt before they are cut off.
Estate Planning Law Firm O’Fallon, Missouri
If you have yet to consider developing your final wishes, you may consider contacting an estate planning law firm O’Fallon, Missouri families rely on to get the job done. Planning an estate doesn’t need to be as cumbersome as it’s often made out to be. In fact, at Legacy Law Center, our team can assist you by developing a clear and straightforward estate plan that leaves nothing out. We know that it can be easy to put off creating your estate plan for another day; however, we can help you endure the process with ease. Please don’t wait another day to get started with Legacy Law Center!
Reasons People Delay Their Estate Plan
Developing an estate plan is critical for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, many people continue to put their wills off for another day. While we all like to believe that we have the luxury of time on our side, the unexpected can occur. Having a clear plan for how you would like your assets divided and your final wishes carried out is critical to ensuring that your loved ones have a plan to refer to. Without one, you lose the ability to make decisions for not only your assets but your minor children and yourself. The following are common reasons that many delay in developing their estate plan:
They Don’t Have Time
Procrastination is one of the key reasons people fail to execute a proper estate plan. Most people have the best intentions, believing that they will surely have time to put together an estate plan long before the time comes. While it may seem like an overwhelming and time-consuming process, creating an estate plan doesn’t have to be this way. This is especially true when you contact our team for help.
The Cost of Hiring an Estate Planning Lawyer
Many associate the assistance of a lawyer with a hefty price tag. However, it’s essential to know that developing your estate plan with a law firm isn’t as expensive as you may have been led to believe. Creating your estate plan with a legal professional is relatively cost-effective and can even save you money in the long run.
They Don’t Believe They Need an Estate Plan
Many believe they don’t have enough assets or resources to develop an estate plan. It’s a common fallacy that estate plans should only be accessed by the wealthy. This is far from true. There will be several decisions that will be incorporated into an estate plan, including:
- Beneficiary Designations
- A Plan for Minor Children
- Power of Attorney
- Medical Directives
- Distribution of Property
We all want to believe that time is on our side. It’s common to think that developing an estate plan doesn’t have to occur until one has reached a certain age. We want you to know that it’s never too early to plan for the unexpected.
The Prospect is Overwhelming
Just the thought of making critical decisions for the future can seem overwhelming. Many are unsure of how to get started. Your estate planning lawyer can simplify the process as they will review your situation and help outline all of your wishes within your estate plan. This can not only make the process much more straightforward than you might have thought but take a huge weight off of your shoulders.
Legacy Law Center
When making plans for the future, it can be challenging to plan for the unexpected. While we hope that you and your family will never be left to contend with your estate plan before the time comes, this may occur in some unfortunate circumstances. Don’t wait before it’s too late to map out your plan if you cannot make decisions on your own or pass away. Contact our estate planning law firm serving O’Fallon, Missouri, at Legacy Law Center to get started.
Estate Planning Questions Answered
Our estate planning law firm O’Fallon Missouri families recommend will tell you that now is the time to develop an estate plan. While many people may put off estate planning, it’s critical to know that this can be incredibly damaging in the long run. All people deserve to have the opportunity to outline their wishes, determine how their assets will be distributed, and create a plan. For many, this can seem intangible and make the process of developing an estate plan challenging to grasp. However, developing an estate plan can pay off for both you and your family in the long run. When considering the process for creating an estate plan, Legacy Law Center is aware that there will be many questions you will need the answers to:
What is an estate plan?
Developing an estate plan is the process of putting a person’s affairs in order. Estate planning ensures there is a plan for their final wishes, such as assets, guardianships, beneficiary designations, and more when a person becomes incapacitated or passes away. This allows a person to name their wishes and who they would like to inherit their assets and manage their estate upon death.
What is the difference between a will and an estate plan?
While the terms for estate plans and wills are often used interchangeably, it’s essential to know that these are two different things. While they often go hand in hand, they are not the same. A will is a document that outlines the distribution of assets after a person passes away. Our O’Fallon, Missouri estate planning law firm shares that, in addition to allowing you the ability to outline the distribution of wealth, a person can also identify the executor and guardianship over children. An estate plan is much more comprehensive and incorporates several key documents, including the will. The estate plan allows a person to clearly outline their wishes while also working to ensure beneficiaries retain as much of their wealth as possible.
What are the elements incorporated within an estate plan?
Several key elements make up an estate plan, including:
- The Will
- Power of Attorney
- Medical Directive
- Beneficiary Designations
How long does it take to create an estate plan?
The length of time it takes to create an estate plan can vary depending upon the extent of a person’s estate. However, with the guidance of a lawyer, the process can be reasonably straightforward. Once you have compiled all relevant documentation and submitted it to your lawyer, an estate plan can typically be developed in a few days or even a few weeks. It’s essential to be aware that it may take months to complete an estate plan in more complex situations.
How often does an estate plan need to be updated?
Once you have developed an estate plan, it’s not something that can be tucked away, never to revisit again. An estate plan will need to be updated on a fairly regular basis, at least every 3-5 years, or when a person experiences a significant life change such as a change in marital status, birth of children, beneficiary changes, and more.
Can I develop an estate plan without the assistance of a lawyer?
While in many cases, you may have the ability to develop an estate plan without the assistance of a lawyer, it may not be in your best interest. DIY estate planning tools may not take into account specific tax implications. Additionally, they may not consider tax laws, and as a result, an estate plan can be rendered invalid.
Legacy Law Center can help develop an estate plan in a simple, efficient, and straightforward way. Learn more about the services and support we can provide by scheduling an appointment with our estate planning law firm in O’Fallon, Missouri, before it’s too late.
To Explore Your Duties as a Trustee, Call a Trust Lawyer
These are only some of the duties a trustee will have. Before you name anyone to be your trustee, or prior to accepting the role, it may be in your best interest to talk to an attorney at our estate planning law firm in O’Fallon, MO the Legacy Law Center.