As the name suggests, a living trust is one that North Carolina residents or others use to manage their affairs while alive. A revocable living trust is one in which a person can change its terms or terminate the document entirely at their discretion. Putting assets into such a trust could make it possible to avoid probate even if they have limited impact on estate taxes.
A person can be both the grantor and trustee at the same time. However, it is also possible to name another person to serve as trustee or to serve alongside the grantor in this role. Living trusts are similar to wills, but they allow the trustee to oversee assets if its creator is incapacitated because an injury, illness or old age. If a person does become incapacitated and has a living trust, there may be no need to go to court to appoint a guardian.
If a trustee is asked to oversee assets transferred to a trust, he or she must do so in a manner that is to the grantor’s benefit. If applicable, the assets must also be used in a manner that would benefit the family of the person who created the trust. It is important to ensure that property is transferred to the trust for the document to be effective.
Taking time for trust planning may have benefits for an individual both today and well into the future. By creating a living or other trust, it may be possible to protect assets while a person is still alive and preserve them for future generations as well. Furthermore, making a trust may allow an estate to avoid probate. An attorney may help to either create estate plan documents or examine those that a person has already made.