Q. Can a Living Trust save on income taxes?

No. A Living Trust, Revocable or Irrevocable provides no income tax advantages.

Q. What is an A-B Trust?

An A-B Trust is one version of a Living Trust that can be used by married couples to utilize the Massachusetts and Federal exemption for each spouse and thereby minimize or eliminate Federal and/or State estate taxes.

Q. Does joint tenancy always avoid probate?

No. Joint tenancy does not avoid probate upon the death of the last owner. For instance, if you and your spouse own your house as joint tenants and you die, the house passes to your spouse free of probate. However, when your spouse dies, or if you and your spouse die simultaneously, the property will be subject to probate because there is no surviving joint tenant. If the house is placed in the Living Trust, there will be no probate at either death.

Q. Does it make sense for an unmarried person to set up a Trust?

Yes. While one benefit of a Living Trust is possible estate tax savings by use of an “A-B” Trust arrangement by a married couple, other benefits of a Living Trust are the ability to avoid probate and guardianships which apply to everyone.

Q. What happens on the death of a person who has set up a Living Trust?

The Successor Trustee takes steps to remove the decedent’s name from accounts and substitute his or her name, as the Trustee. This is usually not very complicated and typically involves about as much paperwork as if the property had been held in joint tenancy. If the estate of the deceased exceeds the “Unified Credit Equivalent”, a Federal Estate Tax return must be filed within 9 months after the death.

Q. Should IRAs, 401's or Keogh plans be transferred into a Living Trust?

No. Under Federal law, such transfer would be considered a premature distribution on which not only income tax, but also a 10% penalty would need to be paid.

What Does a Living Trust Estate Plan Consist Of ?

  • Living Trust Document (either Revocable or Irrevocable)
  • Pour Over Will
  • Living Will
  • Health Care Proxy
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Funding Assistance

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To Your Legal Issues

Are Living Trusts valid in all 50 states?

Yes. A Living Trust is valid in all states and in most foreign countries.

Can I borrow against the assets in the Trust?

Yes. The Trust does not restrict your rights to borrow on assets in any way.

Can I appoint a minor child as my Successor Trustee?

No. The minimum age for a Successor Trustee is eighteen years.

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