Helping Clients with Legal Matters Related to the Creation and Administration of a Living Trust in Missouri and Illinois

A trust is an arrangement that determines how someone’s property is to be managed and distributed during his or her life and at death. Trusts have become a popular way to manage one’s assets and can be a great tool in estate planning.

Benefits of a Living Trust

A living, or inter vivos trust, is simply a trust that is set up while the testator (the person who provides the assets to create the trust) is still alive. Some of the benefits of a living trust include the following:

  • Less delay in administering the estate.
  • Streamlines the procedure if there is property owned in multiple states.
  • Trust assets are generally protected from creditors
  • The administration of a trust is typically a private matter. There will be few public records that would state the nature or the amount of the trust or that would reveal the identity of a trust beneficiary.
  • Property that is passed through a trust does not go through probate, which can significantly reduce the expenses associated with estate administration.

This is not to say that trusts eliminate all expenses. For example, the trustee, or person responsible for the administration of the trust, is owed a fee. Also, estate taxes, among other taxes, may still have to be paid.

Do You Need a Will and a Trust?

People who set up a living trust are still advised to have a will. There are several reasons why, including:

  • You can only name a guardian for your minor children in a will.
  • In the event you die with any property that has not been placed in the trust, having a will is necessary in order to distribute such property to the intended beneficiaries.

For example, if you died in an accident that was not your fault. It is possible that your family could bring a lawsuit in your name. Any damages you would be awarded would then need to be divided and distributed. If you had a will to complement your trust, such money would be transferred or “poured over” into the trust. Without a will containing such a directive, the damage award would be distributed according to Missouri’s generic intestate laws.

Contact a Skilled St. Louis Wills and Trusts Attorney

The documents creating trusts require a complete understanding of estate planning law. They should only be written by a competent wills and trusts attorney. If a trust is not properly created, then, upon your death or disability, it is likely that your plans will not be followed. We work with clients throughout the Missouri and Illinois, including the City of St. Louis, and the surrounding Missouri counties of St. Louis, St. Charles, Lincoln, Jefferson, Franklin and Crawford; and the Illinois counties of Madison, St. Clair and Monroe, to name a few. Call our office today at 314-647-8910 for a free consultation.