James A Wickre Attorney

James A Wickre Attorney
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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Top 10 Mistakes People Make With Their Revocable Living Trusts

I have been doing Trusts for folks for over 30 years and over time I keep seeing the same mistakes. So here are my Top 10 in the hope you will avoid them.

1. Not Funding the Trust. I often have to probate an estate because people failed to keep real property & most bank accounts etc in their Trust. Check with an attorney about which kind of assets need to be placed in your Trust. When you purchase or acquire new assets put them in the Trust.

2. Failing To Keep Their Trust Updated. Every few years as circumstances change, have your Trust reviewed with an attorney. Are your Successor Trustees and beneficiaries still the people you want?

3. Putting Your Original Trust in a Bank Safe Deposit Box. Attorneys disagree on this point but I recommend keeping your Trust in a fire proof safe at home. Banks are hard to deal with and are closed evenings, weekends, and holidays.

4. Losing Your Trust. Every once in a while we know that a Trust was signed but the Trust Maker or his Successor Trustee cannot find it. Keep it in a safe place.....see # 3 above.

5. Not Having a Pour Over Will. Even if you have a Trust, you need a back up or as I say a "safety net" Will to pick up assets you own at your death that are not in the Trust for whatever reason.

6. Leaving Specific Property or Dollar Amounts to Beneficiaries. I always recommend leaving your trust assets in percentages(%) to your beneficiaries. Property and its values change and specific bequests can lead to unintended consequences or require frequent amending of your Trust.

7. Doing a "Do It Yourself" Trust. I have had to probate several estates where the Trust was not properly drafted.

8. Not Picking Capable or Honest Successor Trustees. Pick people you Trust who are capable of dealing with your assets in a fair and conscientious manner.

9. Making Handwritten Changes On Your Trust. Making handwritten changes on a Trust without going through the formalities can cause litigation and could invalidate your Trust.

10. Attempting To Control Things From the Grave. At some point you will have to let go. I have seen additional expenses and actual litigation of a Trust because of too many conditions placed in the Trust on assets passing on death.

Remember if I prepared your Trust, you can call me at anytime with questions regarding your Trust at no charge.

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