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Living Trust Basics

With a Living Trust, you can set up a flexible estate plan that fits your needs. Created during your lifetime, a Living Trust allows you to transfer your assets to a separate legal entity. One common benefit of a Living Trust is that it helps prevent your estate from going through the probate process, saving time for the family members you leave behind. Create a Living Trust to control your assets and property while providing for your family after your death.

Use the Living Trust document if:

  • You own property to be dispersed upon your death.
  • You want to designate a person or organization to receive your assets, including Digital Assets*, after your death.
  • You want to designate a person to act as your executor and carry out your wishes.
  • You want to have a system in place for the management of your assets and the care of your children if you become unable to manage or care for them yourself.
  • Digital Assets: This broad category can include any type of online account or files (like songs or documents) stored on computers and servers. For instance you can add email accounts, blogs, social networking sites, online backup programs, photo and document-sharing sites, financial accounts for personal or business, domain names of web sites, virtual property, and other computer files to your will.

A Living Trust is most often used to both manage your assets and designate how your estate will be distributed on your death. It's a flexible legal tool, and can be used for more than just estate planning; for example, you can design the Living Trust to provide you payments of income. As part of your estate plan, you can determine who will inherit your assets, designate a person to carry out your wishes and plan for the care for your children. A Living Trust can also be tailored to initiate a plan for the care of your finances and family should you have an accident or become ill.

Note: This trust is NOT appropriate for individuals whose estate (including life insurance proceeds and retirement plans) exceeds the federal estate tax applicable exclusion amount of $5,120,000.

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