Category Archives: Estate Planning Blog

Succession Planning When Not All of Your Kids are in the Family Business

family business father and son 91024Owning your own business can be a great endeavor that takes a lot of passion and drive. Many small business owners focus on the day-to-day management and growth of the business, rather than thinking about a time when he or she may not be in the business. This is a far too common mistake.  Future plans for your enterprise are even more important when one child works in the business but the others do not. Keeping the peace among your children after you are no longer able to participate in the business requires careful balancing of your estate plan.

Planning Ahead

Before considering whether or not to pass your business to the next generation — as opposed to selling it to a third party — make sure at least one of your children is capable of (and willing to) running the company. Once that has been established, then early planning is the next step in ensuring the best outcome. Ideally, succession planning should start at least five years before you decide to retire. And because life is unpredictable — you may become incapacitated or pass away without warning — the best time to start planning is now. There are several things to consider when planning for your small business if not all of your children are involved. It is important to keep in mind that treating your children fairly does not necessarily mean you will treat them equally when it comes to your estate planning. For this reason, being proactive will make sure your desires will be followed even after you can no longer run your company.

Factors to Consider

First, minimizing the risk of conflict among your children once you are gone requires a mindful weighing of your estate, your successor trustee, and other aspects of your estate plan to ensure your wishes are recorded and can be easily followed.

Second, you must consider the value of the business as well as control and management issues. This can be done by clearly identifying the roles and responsibilities of your successor in a written plan.

Third, if you have a sizeable estate, there are financial strategies that a knowledgeable estate planning professional can use to equalize distributions. This can also be done with other assets such as IRAs, 401(k)s, investment real estate, life insurance, as well as stocks, bonds, and/or mutual funds.

Finally, an estate planning professional can analyze how the business is capitalized in order to ensure your estate plan is fair when it comes to your children — whatever you consider fair to be in your particular circumstance. Notably, how a person’s business is organized has a direct effect on how it is treated, taxed, and administered upon his or her death.

Don’t Leave It To Chance

Ignoring or delaying estate planning for your small business is not financially prudent. As a successful business owner who already has the next generation involved in the company, you must take charge of the future so that the fruit of your hard work can continue on. More important, clearly writing down your desires will help keep your family from bickering — a likely result if you just leave the business’s future to chance. Give us a call today, so we can craft an estate plan that will allow your business to continue to thrive for generations to come.

Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,

Marc Garlett 91024

Not Married? You’re not alone – but you still need a plan. Estate Planning for People Living Together, Bachelors, and Bachelorettes

Single Woman Blue - 91024Approximately half of America’s population over the age of 16 is unmarried. While much of the discussion involving estate planning focuses on married couples, this topic is just as important for a single person. In fact, many times it is even more important that a single person have a well-coordinated estate plan. This is because the default laws governing estates often work poorly for people without a spouse and may not adequately provide for a significant other or unmarried partner. Having a cohesive and well-drafted estate plan will ensure that you protect and provide for those you truly care about upon your death.

Evolving Estate Planning

It is important to understand that your estate plan can change over time. You may eventually experience life changes like getting married, having children, or buying your first home that will necessitate changes to your estate plan. Although life is constantly changing, it is best to get in the driver’s seat early when it comes to estate planning.

If you die without a will — referred to as intestate — all of your possessions will be distributed according to the default laws of your state. While most state laws have a married person’s assets go to their surviving spouse and children, the same is not true for unmarried individuals. Generally, state law provides that a single person’s assets are passed on to their next of kin. This includes children, parents, and siblings. Noticeably absent for many unmarried people are provisions providing for a long-term boyfriend or girlfriend. And, if there are no surviving close relatives, the assets will likely go to the state. To avoid the state dictating what happens to your assets, it is vital that you have a properly drafted estate plan put together.

As an Unmarried Person, How You Own Things Is Very Important

There is an increasing number of couples that are not getting married, and other individuals who are deciding to remain single. For this group, estate planning is important because taxes and other financial benefits tend to favor those who have tied the knot. It also brings up the need to be very careful about how assets are titled.

How your assets are titled and how the beneficiary designations are prepared will impact how your assets will be distributed upon your passing. The most common ways to hold title to property is tenants in common (TIC) and joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWROS). Property that is held as TIC means that each owner owns an interest in the property.  At the death of one owner, that interest is transferred according to his or her estate plan, or intestate succession if there is no estate planning. This is not an ideal way for unmarried couples to own property because at the death of one of them, the other person will end up as joint owner with the deceased’s next of kin.  JTWROS is one option for unmarried couples because when one owner dies, the property automatically transfers to the surviving owner. There are several other planning strategies that can be beneficial for unmarried individuals — involving tax benefits, retirement plans, wills and trusts, and healthcare powers of attorney — if the right estate plan is carefully crafted.

Speak to an Estate Planning Attorney

If you do not have an estate plan yet, you should contact a knowledgeable estate planning attorney today. Whether you are married, single, or cohabiting with a partner, the right professional can help you craft a comprehensive estate plan that is tailored to your personal situation and assists you in protecting those you care for the most. Give us a call today if you have any questions.

Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,

Marc Garlett 91024

Five Surprisingly Common Planning Mistakes Baby Boomers Are Making in Droves

Baby Boomers 91024Baby boomers, which includes those born between 1946 and 1964, have entered and continue to enter into retirement. As they make this financial transition, many boomers are learning that they have made some of the most typical retirement mistakes.

But, even if you’ve made a financial mistake or two, there’s still time to avoid these five surprisingly common estate planning mistakes baby boomers are making in droves.

Mistake #1: Believing Estate Planning is Only for the Wealthy: While baby boomers are not the only ones guilty of this mistake, the common misconception is that only the ultra-rich need to have an estate plan prepared. By some reports, about half of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 do not even have a will. Because estate planning encompasses not only protection of your assets (regardless of how much you’ve accumulated), but also your healthcare choices, a lack of planning can leave you in a dire situation should any medical issues arise.

Mistake #2: Checklist Mentality: For many, estate planning is just the preparation of legal documents. Once the documents are signed, the client crosses off estate planning from his or her to-do list and moves on. And truth be told, the legal industry itself is guilty of creating this misperception. But don’t be fooled! Your circumstances may (and usually will) change. And the likelihood of this happening increases as time goes by. To ensure your estate planning objectives are carried out, you should update your estate plan every time a major (or sometimes, minor) life changes happen – such as retirement.

Mistake #3: Not Completing Your Estate Planning Homework: Just because the estate planning documents have been signed does not necessarily mean that the planning is complete.  It is important that any assets which need to be retitled are done so as soon as possible, before you forget.  If the ownership or designations on financial accounts and property do not align with your estate planning strategy, there can be major problems in the future.  Improper titling of financial accounts or property can result in an unexpected or undesirable distribution.  This can happen because you may make one plan through your will or trust, but the ultimate determination of who inherits will rely on the ownership or beneficiary designation of those assets upon your death.

Mistake #4: Leaving Out Little (And Not So Little) Things: It is important to consider all forms of property, not just the high-value assets when putting together an estate plan. Some of the most commonly overlooked assets include digital assets and family pets. If not expressly addressed in your estate plan, your family may end up fighting over valuable assets, abandoning those they deem worthless, or not even realizing certain assets existed.

Mistake #5: Not Preparing for Life Events & Emergencies: No one has a crystal ball.  However, with proper estate planning, you may be able to weather the storm brought on by some of life’s unexpected events or emergencies. With long term care costs increasing year after year, planning for the future possibility of that level of care can save you money and reduce worry if and when it becomes necessary.

Estate Planning Help

Although many baby boomers have made these mistakes – and unfortunately, won’t realize it until it becomes too late – you do not have to be one of them. Please let me know if you have any questions about your estate planning options and how to make sure you and your family are protected from these common mistakes.

Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,

Marc Garlett 91024

Don’t Make These Common, Expensive Mistakes: How to Leave Assets to Minor Children

singlemom2Most parents want to make sure their children are provided for in the event something happens to them while the children are still minors. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and good friends sometimes want to leave gifts to beloved young children, too. Unfortunately, good intentions and poor planning often have unintended results. Don’t make these common, expensive mistakes. Instead, here’s how to both protect and provide for the children you love.

Common Mistake: Don’t Use a Simple Will to Leave Assets to Minor Children

Many parents think if they name a guardian for their minor children in their wills and something happens to them, the named person will automatically be able to use the inheritance to take care of the children. But that’s not what happens:

  • When the will is probated, the court will appoint a guardian to raise the child; usually this is the person named by the parents in their wills.
  • But the court, not the guardian, will control the inheritance until the child reaches legal age (18 or 21).
  • At that time, the child will receive the entire inheritance in one lump sum.

Most parents would prefer that their children inherit at a later age, but with a simple will, you have no choice; once the child reaches the age of majority, the court must distribute the entire inheritance at once.

Common Mistake: Avoid Court Guardianship

A court guardianship for a minor child is very similar to one for an incompetent adult.

  • Things move slowly and can become very expensive.
  • Every expenditure must be documented, audited, and approved by the court, and an attorney will need to represent the child.

All of these expenses are paid from the inheritance, and because the court must do its best to treat everyone equally under the law, it is difficult to make exceptions for each child’s unique situation and needs.

Correct Action: To Protect the Child and the Assets, Use a Trust

Instead of using a simple will, a better option is to set up a children’s trust in a will:

  • This would let you name someone to manage the inheritance instead of the court.
  • You can also decide when the children will inherit.
  • But the trust cannot be funded until the will has been probated, and that can take precious time and could reduce the assets.
  • If you become incapacitated, this trust does not go into effect…because your will cannot be adjudicated until after you die.
  • And, anything that goes through probate, as these assets would, is visible the public which means predators, unscrupulous family members and nosey neighbors, know what your child inherited.

The best option is a revocable living trust, the preferred option for many parents and grandparents:

  • The person(s) you select, not the court, will be able to manage the inheritance for your minor children or grandchildren until they reach the age(s) you want them to inherit–even if you become incapacitated.
  • Each child’s needs and circumstances – even special needs – can be accommodated, just as you would do yourself.
  • And assets that remain in the trust are protected from the courts, irresponsible spending, and creditors (even future divorce proceedings).

For many folks, the absolute best solution is to keep the assets in trust for their lifetime or until assets get spent down. Assets that are protected in this manner are there for your children but can’t be taken from them.

Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,

Marc Garlett 91024

How to Leave Assets to Adult Children

family - adult children 91024Some parents worry about leaving too much money to their children. They want their children to have enough to do whatever they wish, but not so much that they will be lazy and unproductive. So, instead of giving everything to their children, some parents leave inheritances for grandchildren and future generations through a trust, and/or make a generous charitable contribution.

Inheritance Planning: Options

When deciding how or when adult children are to receive their inheritances, consider these options:

 Option 1: Give Some Now

Those who can afford to give their children or grandchildren some of their inheritance now will experience the joy of seeing the results. Money given now can help a child buy a house, start a business, be a stay-at-home parent, or send the grandchildren to college–milestones that may not have happened without this help. It also provides insight into how a child might handle a larger inheritance.

Option 2: Lump Sum

If the children are responsible adults, a lump sum distribution may seem like a good choice–especially if they are older and may not have as many years left to enjoy the inheritance. However, once a beneficiary has possession of the assets, he or she could lose them to creditors, a lawsuit, or a divorce settlement. Even a current spouse would have access to assets that are placed in a joint account or if the recipient adds the spouse as a co-owner. For parents who are concerned that a son- or daughter-in law could end up with their assets, or that a creditor could seize them, or that a child might spend irresponsibly, a lump sum distribution may not be the right choice.

Option 3: Installments

Many parents like to give their children more than one opportunity to invest or use the inheritance wisely, which doesn’t always happen the first time around. Installments can be made at certain intervals (say, one-third upon the parent’s death, one-third five years later, and the final third five years after that) or when the heir reaches certain ages (say, age 25, age 30 and age 35). In either case, it is important to review the instructions from time to time and make changes as needed. For example, if the parent lives a very long time, the children’s life expectancy may not be long enough to receive the full inheritance–or, they may have passed the distribution ages and, by default, will receive the entire inheritance in a lump sum.

Keep in mind that pushing assets out of a trust in installments leaves those assets vulnerable to the problems mentioned above in the “lump sum” option. Assets can be lost in divorce, seized in lawsuits, or spent foolishly. Some parents are also concerned lump sum or installment gifts will fuel an addiction.

Option 4: Keep Assets in a Trust

Assets can be kept in a trust and provide for children and grandchildren, but not actually be given to them. Assets that remain in a trust are protected from a beneficiary’s creditors, lawsuits, irresponsible spending, and ex- and current spouses. The trust can provide for a special needs dependent, or a child who might become incapacitated later, without jeopardizing valuable government benefits. If a child needs some incentive to earn a living, the trust can match the income he/she earns. (Be sure to allow for the possibility that this child might become unable to work or retires.) If a child is financially secure, assets can be kept in a trust for grandchildren and future generations, yet still provide a safety net should this child’s financial situation change. This is our preferred method of inheritance planning as it’s a win/win for all.  Assets are protected yet available.

Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,

Marc Garlett 91024

How Estate Planning Can Help You Dream About Your Future

Closeup portrait of a senior man sitting with his daughter and grandson

A dream without a plan is simply a wish. Estate planning is not just about death and taxes — it puts you in the driver’s seat of your financial life, allowing you to set achievable goals. But it’s also a great opportunity to focus on the legacy you want to leave behind for loved ones, help you avoid the expense and delay of probate, as well as help you save on taxes.

Putting Your Dreams on Paper

When putting together your estate plan, think about what legacy you want to leave behind. The best way to do so is to write down your wishes. Consider the values you want to promote. Think about important family traditions you want to encourage or memories you want to preserve. Rather than a just dry discussion of what happens to your assets, including these wishes in your documents makes your plan relatable and more meaningful for your family.  Because you’ve passed along values and wisdom along with your financial wealth, you will have solidified and furthered your dreams, hopes, and aspirations you have for your family, even though you are no longer with them.

For your estate plan to effectively pass along your values and wisdom, it should:

(1) clearly state who you are leaving your assets to;

(2) give an explanation as to why an individual is receiving a particular asset;

(3) provide guidance about how you want a beneficiary to benefit from your assets (e.g. what “education” you intend to help with, whether or how you want to instill a work ethic, what you mean by “support,” etc.);

(4) make sure that those assets are received by your beneficiaries at the right time to maximize their benefit, and

(5) protect your legacy from being taken by estate taxes, creditors, predatory lawsuits, government claims or divorce.

You even have the opportunity to protect your legacy beyond your beneficiaries’ lifetimes into future generations if you want to do so.

Estate Planning Basics & Benefits

There are several benefits of developing an estate plan with your legacy in mind. You can help the next generation become empowered to achieve competence, character, and confidence. You can also preserve and reinforce your family’s core values and traditions.

In addition to preserving your legacy after you die, a comprehensive estate plan can provide guidance for managing your affairs if you become incapacitated and unable make decisions for yourself. Some basic documents that should be included in your estate plan are:

  • A will: A written document that states who you want to inherit your property and names a guardian to care for your minor children or disabled family members.  The use of a will as your primary estate planning strategy does require the court process known as probate.
  • A trust: A legal structure which holds property for your benefit during your life and for the benefit of your beneficiaries after your death. The use of a “fully funded” trust allows your beneficiaries to avoid the costly and time-consuming process of probate.
  • A healthcare directive: A written document that spells out your wishes for healthcare and end-of-life choices when you are unable to make these decisions for yourself.
  • A financial power of attorney: A written document giving a trusted person authority to handle your finances and property on your behalf.

Guidance From Estate Planning Attorneys

A skilled estate planning attorney can help you make your dreams a reality by communicating  them through a well thought-out estate plan. Contact us today to learn about your options.

Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,

Marc Garlett 91024

Small Business Owner? Know What Can Happen to Your Business If You Become Incapacitated or Pass Away

business succession planning 91024Preparing your company for your incapacity or death is vital to the survival of the enterprise. Otherwise, your business will be disrupted, harming your customers, employees, vendors, and ultimately, your family. For this reason, proactive financial planning — including your business and your estate plan — is key. Below are some tips on how to protect your company and keep the business on track and operating day-to-day in your absence.

Preparing for the Unexpected

If you are a small business owner, your focus is likely on keeping the company running on a daily basis. While this is important, looking beyond today to what will happen if you can’t run your business should be on the top of your to-do list. If you die or become incapacitated without a plan in place, you will leave your heirs a mess. Without clear instructions on how to run your company, the business you worked so hard to build will be in serious jeopardy. The right plan, along with adequate insurance, can help keep your business running no matter what happens.

Execute the Proper Business Documents

If your company has multiple owners, a buy-sell agreement is a must. This contract will outline the agreed upon plan for the business should an owner become incapacitated or die. Provisions in the buy-sell agreement should include:

  • how the sale price for the business and an owner’s interest are determined,
  • whether the remaining owners will have the option to buy the incapacitated or deceased member’s interest, and
  • whether certain individuals can be blocked from participating in the business.

Execute the Proper Estate Planning Documents

A properly executed will or trust will allow you to state how you would like your assets to be transferred — and who will receive these assets — at your death. A will or a trust also lets you identify who will take charge of the assets and manage their disbursement (including your business accounts) according to your wishes.

Although a will can be used to pass assets at death, creating and properly funding a trust allows any assets owned by the trust to bypass the probate process making the distribution of assets to heirs much faster, private, and may reduce the legal fees and estate taxes your heirs will owe.

Additionally, a trust can help your loved ones manage your trust assets if you become incapacitated. While you are alive and well, you typically act as the trustee of the trust, so you can manage your business and assets with little change from the way you do now. But unlike a will, a trust allows your successor trustee to step in manage things if you become incapacitated. This process avoids court involvement, allows for a smooth transition of trust management (which can be very important if your business is an asset of your trust), and proper continuing care for you in your time of need. Although having a will can be a great way to start, most business owners are much better off with a trust-based estate plan.

Purchase Additional Insurance

Whether you own the business by yourself or are a co-owner, it is important to have separate term life insurance and a disability policy that names your spouse and children as beneficiaries. The money from these policies will help avoid financial hardship while the buyout procedures of the buy-sell agreement are being carried out.

Contact Your Estate Planning Attorney

Having a plan for your business in the event you are unable to continue managing the company is essential to keep the company going. An experienced attorney can explain the many options you have to protect your enterprise allowing you to focus on what you do best — running your company. Give us a call today to get started protecting your business.

Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,
Marc Garlett 91024

Does a Dynasty Trust Make Sense for Your Family?

living trust 91024In 2017, NBA team owner Gail Miller made headlines when she announced that she was effectively no longer the owner of the Utah Jazz or the Vivint Smart Home Arena. These assets, she said, were being placed into a family trust, therefore raising interest in an estate planning tool previously known only to the very wealthy­–the dynasty trust.

Dynasty Trusts Explained

A dynasty trust (also called a “legacy trust”) is a special irrevocable trust that is intended to survive for many generations. The beneficiaries may receive limited payments from the trust, but asset ownership remains with the trust as long as the trust is in effect. In some states, a legal rule known as the Rule Against Perpetuities limits how long a dynasty trust can last.

The rule against perpetuities is a common law concept that still applies in most states. It generally provides that a trust may not last longer than 21 years after the death of the last potential beneficiary to die who was living at the time the trust was established.

California has enacted the Uniform Statutory Rule Against Perpetuities (USRAP), which provides that a trust may last at least 90 years before the common law rule is applied. In fact, this 90-year “wait and see” approach in USRAP now applies in most other states, too.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Wealthy families often use dynasty trusts as a way of keeping the money “in the family” for many generations. Rather than distribute assets over the life of a beneficiary, dynasty trusts consolidate the ownership and management of family wealth. The design of these trusts makes them exempt from estate taxes and the generation-skipping transfer tax, at least under current laws, so that wealth has a better ability to grow over time, rather than having as much as a 40-50% haircut at the death of each generation.

However, these benefits also come at the expense of other advantages. For example, since dynasty trusts are irrevocable and rely on a complex interplay of tax rules and state law; changes to them are much more difficult, or even potentially impossible as a practical matter, compared to non-dynasty trusts. Because changes are so difficult (or impossible), the design of a dynasty trust needs to anticipate any and all changes in family structure (e.g. a divorce, a child’s adoption) and assets (e.g. stock valuation, land appraisals), decades before any such changes occur.

Is a Dynasty Trust Right for Your Family?

In the past, these kinds of trusts were usually only used by very wealthy families whose fortunes would be subject to large estate taxes. However, dynasty trusts are powerful tools for “regular” families today who which to protect estates not only from taxes, but also from divorces, creditors or the ill-advised spending habits of beneficiaries. To learn more about dynasty trusts other estate planning strategies, call our office today.

Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,

Marc Garlett 91024

Want to Give the Kids an Early Inheritance? 4 Things to Consider

inheritance and gifting 91024If you’re thinking about giving your children their inheritance early, you’re not alone. Studies suggest that these days, nearly two-thirds of people over the age of 50 would rather pass their assets to the children early than make them wait until the will is read. It can be especially satisfying to fund our children’s dreams while we’re alive to enjoy them, and there’s no real financial penalty for doing so if you structure the arrangement correctly. Here are four important factors to consider when planning to give an early inheritance.

  1. Keep the tax codes in mind.

The IRS doesn’t really care whether you give away your money now or later—the lifetime estate tax exemption is expected to be $11.18 million per individual in 2018, regardless of when the funds are transferred. So, whether you give up to $11.18 million away now or wait until you die with that amount, your estate will not owe any federal estate tax (although remember, the law is always subject to change). You can even give up to $15,000 per person (child, grandchild, or anyone else) per year without any gift tax issues at all. You might hear these $15,000 gifts referred to as “annual exclusion” gifts. There are also ways to make tax-free gifts for educational expenses or medical care, but special rules apply to these gifts. Your trusted advisor can help you successfully navigate the maze of tax issues to ensure you and your children receive the greatest benefit from your giving.

  1. Gifts that keep on giving.

One way to make your children’s inheritance go even farther is to give it as an appreciable asset. For example, helping one of your children buy a home could increase the value of your gift considerably as the home appreciates in value. Likewise, if you have stock in a company that is likely to prosper, gifting some of the stock to your children could result in greater wealth for them in the future.

  1. One size does not fit all.

Don’t feel pressured to follow the exact same path for all your children in the name of equal treatment. One of your children might actually prefer to wait to receive her inheritance, for example, while another might need the money now to start a business. Give yourself the latitude to do what is best for each child individually; just be willing to communicate your reasoning to the family to reduce the possibility of misunderstanding or resentment.

  1. Don’t touch your own retirement.

If the immediate need is great for one or more of your children, resist the urge to tap into your retirement accounts to help them out. Make sure your own future is secure before investing in theirs. It may sound selfish in the short term, but it’s better than possibly having to lean on your kids for financial help later when your retirement is depleted.

Giving your kids an early inheritance is not only feasible, but it also can be highly fulfilling and rewarding for all involved. That said, it’s best to involve a trusted financial advisor and an experienced estate planning attorney to help you navigate tax issues and come up with the best strategy for transferring your assets. Give us a call today to discuss your options.

Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,

Marc Garlett 91024

What do successor trustees and executors do?

family estate planning 91024Executor’s Duties

An executor, sometimes called a personal representative, is the person who is named in a will, appointed by the court, and responsible for probating the will and settling the estate.

Typically, a petition of probate must be filed with the court for an executor to be appointed. If the person agrees to be the executor, and no one objects, the court will issue letters of testamentary. These letters authorize the executor to gather the estate’s assets, sell assets, pay creditors, and open an estate bank account. An executor is ultimately responsible for distributing the estate assets to the heirs in accordance with the terms of the will. If there is no will, then your executor will distribute assets in accordance with California state law. Distribution of estate assets, in either case, happens only after debts, taxes, and administration expenses are paid.

Trustee’s and Successor Trustee’s Duties

A trustee, on the other hand, is an individual or trust company named in a trust document and is in charge of the assets that are held in a trust. Assets held in a living trust avoid probate, which means court supervision is not required. In most revocable living trusts, the trust creator acts as the trustee and can make changes including moving assets to and from the trust, changing its beneficiaries, or even revoking the trust entirely if it is no longer necessary. Once the trustee is no longer able to manage his or her affairs, because of cognitive impairment or another injury, the successor trustee will step in and handle the trust management. Upon the trustmaker’s death, the successor trustee will distribute the assets held in the trust to the trust’s beneficiaries and subsequently close down the trust. So this role is similar to an executor, but without the burden of probate.

Other Thoughts

You do have the option of having more than one trustee or executor. It is often better to name a sequence of trustees or executors, however, rather than joint ones. The executor and successor trustee can be different people, but do not have to be. There are advantages and disadvantages to each setup. Be sure to speak with your trusted advisor about the nuances and legal strategies important to consider when selecting your executor and successor trustee.

Dedicated to empowering your family, building your wealth and defining your legacy,

Marc Garlett 91024