Kalamazoo Trust Lawyers
Trust and Asset Protection in West Michigan
One tool that individuals sometimes find to be a helpful addition to their estate plan are trusts. Trusts are the building blocks of estate planning, along with wills. There are various trust options that can help you accomplish your individual planning goals. The trust documentation will spell out how assets placed in the trust, such as financial assets and properties, will be managed and distributed.
At Willis Law, we understand that the process can be complicated, but it does not have to be. Our Kalamazoo trust attorneys will take the time to answer your questions and address your unique challenges.
Our priority is to help you implement these legal documents to establish a solid foundation for your family's future.
Types of Trusts in Michigan
There are many different terms people may hear thrown around regarding trusts. Two such terms are "testamentary trust" and "living trust." The most common type of trust is the living trust, which is an agreement between the trustor and trustee. Living trusts can be revocable or irrevocable, but the flexibility of the revocable trust makes it a more popular option for most of our estate planning clients.
Testamentary trusts and living trusts are the two main broad categories for trusts. The main thing that makes these two classes of trusts different from each other is when they initially take effect.
Living Trusts: Revocable & Irrevocable
A revocable trust is one that can takes effect during your life. You can retain control over the property you place in the trust by naming yourself as the trustee. Then you name a successor trustee to take over trust administration upon your death. Sometimes, a revocable living trust is used to avoid the costs of probate. We can help you set up a revocable living trust and show you how to transfer the title of your property to it. The property then becomes unavailable for probate because it legally belongs to the trustees of the trust. This type of trust becomes irrevocable after the grantor's death being that they can no longer revoke the trust.
An irrevoable trust is one that cannot be revoked or amended by the grantor after its creation.
In testamentary trusts, property isn't put into the trustee's control until after the person forming the trust has passed away. Thus, a testamentary trust is a trust that starts being active after the trust-former's death. Typically, testamentary trusts come about as a result of the terms of a person's will.
Which Trust Should I Choose?
When a person is thinking of having a trust included in their estate plan, one thing they may wonder is: should the trust be a living trust or a testamentary trust? The answer to this question is dependent on many things, as there are a variety of different things it can be important to consider when making this particular decision. One is what sort of timing for the trust becoming active would best serve the person's goals. Another is how other differences regarding these two classes of trusts would impact a trust's ability to achieve a person's estate planning goals. Attorneys can provide individuals who are planning on forming a trust with helpful information regarding trust type decisions and the potential impacts of such decisions.
Trust Administration: A Trustee's Responsibilities
Administering a trust is a responsibility that many people find complex and confusing. Our lawyers are here to help anyone in charge of administering a trust perform his or her duties, including:
- Managing trust property
- Inventorying and valuing trust assets
- Paying creditors
- Resolving tax-related issues
- Preparing annual trust accounts
- Distributing assets according to trust documents
Contact a Michigan Trust Attorney
Our Kalamazoo trust attorneys are ready to help you protect your assets. We have additional office locations in Grand Rapids and Paw Paw.
Contact us online or call (888) 461-7744 today for a FREE initial consultation to learn more.
Michael J. Willis J.D., C.P.A.
Shaun P. Willis J.D.
Frank D. Willis J.D.
Donald H. Smith
Mariko C. Willis
Samuel R. Gilbertson J.D.
Verelle Kirkwood J.D.
Kristyn Meylenberg J.D.