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New York Living Trust Forms – Irrevocable & Revocable

The New York living trust is legal document whose primary purpose is to avoid the court-appointed legal administration of a person’s estate when they die or become incapacitated. The probate of an estate can be a long and costly process, so it is worth investigating whether a living trust is a better option for ensuring that your estate is most effectively distributed. In order to create a living trust, you will transfer the ownership of most or all of your property and diverse assets into it. This trust estate is divided amongst named Beneficiaries at such a time that you become incapacitated or deceased (as stipulated within the trust document). Therefore, a living trust has the added benefit of not only expediting your estate’s divestment, but also making provisions for how your assets should be handled if you fall ill or become unable to manage your affairs.

Laws – Estates, Powers & Trusts > Article 7 (Trusts)

Will (Last Will and Testament) – Used to divest any property which is not placed in the living trust.

Individual Roles

The four (4) major roles in a living trust are as follows:

Grantor (or “Settlor”) – Creates and funds the living trust.

Trustee – Controls the trust as per the Grantor’s instructions.

Successor Trustee – Becomes Trustee when Trustee dies or becomes incapacitated.

Beneficiaries – All assets included in the trust will be distributed amongst these individuals as per the Grantor’s instructions.

Types

Irrevocable – Avoids probate and protects all assets put in the trust from lawsuits and creditors. An Irrevocable Living Trust cannot be revoked or altered.

Revocable – Avoids probate and can be altered or revoked.

How to Make a Living Trust in New York

Under § 7-1.4, a trust may be created for “any lawful purpose” by “any person” (§ 7-1.14) who is 18 years of age or older. In order to create a trust, the creator lists all of their assets and property to be held in the trust and appoints a Trustee and Beneficiaries. The Trustee will divest the trust to the Beneficiaries according to the Grantor’s instructions which they must also put into the trust document. It is not always required, but recommended that the trust document be signed with a Notary Public present. Next, all of the assets listed in the trust must be formerly transferred into the trust’s name. After all this has been done, the trust will be effective.

Motor Vehicles – Ownership of vehicles is transferred to the living trust with a Vehicle Bill of Sale and a title-transfer performed through the New York DMV (or that of the vehicle’s State).

Real Estate – Real estate is put into the trust’s name using a New York Deed, which then must be given to the appropriate County Clerk’s Office.

Do I Need a Living Trust?

The main deciding factor in whether creating a living trust is an appropriate choice for you is the size of your estate. If you have a large estate, a living trust provides many benefits that a standard Will won’t provide. If your estate is smaller, your heir(s) may be able to avoid the probate process in any case. Maintaining a living trust can be costly and, in some cases, may be much more expensive and time-consuming than the normal probate process. If your estate is valued at $30,000 or less, your inheritors can avoid probate altogether by filing a Small Estate Affidavit, providing it is done at least 30 days after your death and they have your death certificate.

The process of administering large estates with multiple properties and Beneficiaries through probate can be extremely long and costly. A living trust can be extremely effective in avoiding probate entirely. Furthermore, if you put your estate into an Irrevocable Living Trust, you can protect your assets from litigation and creditors.

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