Mullen and Iannarone, P.C.
Serving the legal needs of corporations, individuals and
families of Suffolk County since 1972

Using a living trust for real estate

Placing their home in a living trust may be one option for New York residents who are creating an estate plan. There might be a number of reasons to do this instead of using a will to pass down assets to beneficiaries. One is that a trust means avoiding the probate process. This can potentially be both costly and lengthy. If a person owns homes in more than one state, then that property would have to go through probate in other states unless placed into a trust. A trust is also more private than a will.

There is a cost in setting up a trust, and people also must decide whether they want to create a revocable or irrevocable trust. With a revocable trust, a person can make changes or even cancel the trust altogether. An irrevocable trust offers some advantages over a revocable trust in terms of protecting assets, but it is also less flexible and cannot be changed by the creator.

Even if people choose to put their property into a trust, they may want to use a will for items that have less value. They should consider keeping a list of all the property that is in the trust as this will make the job of the trustee easier after the death of the settlor.

Choosing a trustee to manage the trusts is an important step in the estate process. The duties of the trustee may vary depending on the trust. For example, for some types of trusts, the trustee is in charge of making distributions to beneficiaries. If this is the case, it is important to take note of family dynamics and avoid awkward potential conflicts such as appointing a person to manage distributions to a sibling.

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