York Trust Attorney

York Trust Attorney

York Trust Lawyer

To ensure your family is taken care of when you are gone, it is essential to set up an estate plan for distributing your assets after your passing. Trust administration is a crucial step in the estate planning process, helping individuals specify how they want their assets to be distributed. At Mack & Mack Attorneys, our team of estate planning attorneys can help the people of York with their trust administration needs.

What Is an Estate Plan?

Estate planning is the act of establishing a specific strategy for how one’s possessions will be distributed after their death. Estate plans include a living will or trust, a chosen power of attorney, and any particular medical instructions that should be followed if the creator of the estate is incapable of making such decisions. In addition to end-of-life arrangements, an estate plan specifies the executor — or the person or entity to oversee and carry out the deceased estate’s plan — and how the deceased’s assets should be distributed among their beneficiaries.

York Trust Attorney

Necessary Parts of Estate Planning

Depending on a person’s assets and wishes, the particular components they choose to include can vary. For some assets, probate may be necessary to divide an estate among its beneficiaries. Probate is the legal term for settling an estate in court. It is a method for final taxes and obligations to be paid as well as for the transfer of ownership of assets from the deceased to named beneficiaries. Some of the more common parts of an estate plan that may or may not be subject to probate include:

  • A will or trust. A will, which goes into effect after an individual passes away, dictates which relatives are to receive which heirlooms and assets owned by the recently deceased. A will by itself, however, often must go through probate before the assets can be distributed. A living trust is configured similarly to a will, and it also outlines how the deceased’s property is going to be distributed among the beneficiaries. The biggest difference, though, is that a trust can typically bypass the probate process.
  • Power of attorney. In situations where a person is unable to make decisions regarding their health or finances, they can include a power of attorney designation in their estate plan to facilitate these actions on their behalf. Typically split between a financial power of attorney and health power of attorney, these individuals are in charge of crucial decisions such as tying up loose financial ends and business matters or making medical decisions.
  • End-of-life arrangements. Most estate plans include end-of-life arrangements so that the deceased’s wishes for memorial services, cremation, burial, and other aspects are carried out. The executor of an estate can then use these requests to properly plan out the appropriate end-of-life services.

Regardless of whether a person has a will or not, their estate might go through probate if it contains assets that must go through the procedure. Real estate property, anything owned by the deceased alone, and interest in partnerships, LLCs, etc. are all subject to probate.

What Is a Trust?

Property management is offered both throughout life and after death via a living trust. If someone is made the founding trustee, the trust names a replacement in the event of their death. A trust can be divided among heirs in the event of the trustor’s (the person who created the trust) passing, without probate. For those choosing to create a will, probate is an expected part of dividing up an estate, which can take months in court to settle.

Alternatively, a trustor can establish a living trust for their beneficiaries that avoids the probate process, which allows them to leave their estate to any named heirs, who will automatically inherit this property upon the death of the trustor. A trust does not need to be divided in court, meaning that the deceased’s estate does not need to be public for it to be settled. Additionally, if the trustor holds property in various states, a trust allows them to share it without having to go through additional legal processes.

Differences Between Types of Trusts

South Carolina recognizes several kinds of trusts, each with their legal implications. Depending on the estate and the beneficiaries of that estate, the trust that best suits an individual’s estate plan can vary. The main types of trusts recognized by South Carolina include:

  • Revocable living trust. A revocable family trust or revocable living trust is the most typical kind of trust. The major benefit of this kind of trust is that it enables the delay of assets to descendants or other beneficiaries as well as the avoidance of the probate procedure. A trustee who is going to be responsible for distributing the trust’s assets must be selected when establishing a revocable trust.
  • Irrevocable living trust. An irrevocable family trust or asset protection trust is another form of trust that is often utilized in South Carolina. This kind of trust offers security for the trust’s assets, which would be crucial if the founder were to be sued and have their assets demanded as compensation. An asset protection trust’s main drawback is that it cannot be terminated once signed.
  • Special needs trust. A special needs trust is established for a person who is mentally or physically disabled and is controlled by federal and state legislation. The funds placed in such a trust must be utilized for the special needs person. They cannot be used to cover any expenses covered by Medicaid, Medicare, or any other state agency. When an organization has spent all of its resources, a special needs trust assists in covering the costs that Medicaid or Medicare do not.
  • Irrevocable life insurance trust. A trust that is revocable but only retains life insurance so that it can be paid to the trust is known as an irrevocable life insurance trust. This enables the trustor to control how the money is managed after their passing.

Knowing which trust is applicable for a specific kind of estate requires the help of an estate planning attorney. Similarly, knowing which assets to add to a particular trust and who they are to be given to is important before creating a trust.

Are Both a Will and Trust Necessary?

Those with a living trust are going to still require a will in most cases. It may never be put to use, but a will should still be written to aid in the asset distribution process. Although a trust can outline assets and financial decisions, it does not cover childcare and custody arrangements like a will would. For those with small children, a will can designate a guardian for those children upon the trustor’s passing. Accounting for any assets that have not been placed in a trust yet could warrant the creation of a will. For example, if a trust is created before the acquisition of a timeshare property but the trustor passes away before placing it in a trust, a will would be useful for naming the heir to that property.

People frequently establish trusts but neglect to legally transfer property to the trust, for example, by failing to update the deed to their home. To specify how assets that are not part of the trust should be dispersed, the trustor should create a will as a backup. If they do not have a will, South Carolina state law determines which of their closest relatives would inherit any property that has not been transferred by a living trust or another means, such as joint tenancy.

What Are the Benefits of a Trust?

Because of the many advantages they offer to an estate plan, living trusts have been more and more common over the past few decades. Among those advantages are:

  • Flexibility. Trusts have developed to the point that practically any estate planning goal may be achieved by using a specialized living trust that is now readily available.
  • Control. When making an outright delivery of property in a last will and testament, a person immediately relinquishes all control over the property. Through the trust provisions they establish as the trustor, however, they can effectively retain some control over the assets they donate in a living trust.
  • Asset protection. By establishing the proper kind of living trust, a trustor can shield their assets from creditors while they are still alive. Assets can also be protected from a spendthrift beneficiary and/or the beneficiary’s spouse, should the beneficiary later get divorced.

Trusts also offer the privacy of handling affairs outside of the public eye by avoiding probate. If you are interested in establishing a living trust, speak with a York trust lawyer today.

Finding an Expert South Carolina Trust Lawyer

Planning for the unexpected might be unpleasant for some people, but it’s important to make sure your family is protected, and your assets are distributed how you want them to be. At Mack & Mack Attorneys, we can assist with the estate planning process. We take additional care to ensure all essential elements of the plan are included in your estate plan. Contact us today for additional information about our services.


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