In addition to the savings in probate expenses, the avoidance of probate administration has other advantages. The administration of a revocable living trust at the grantor`s death is normally a private matter between the Trustee and the beneficiaries. Unlike probate, there are few public records to reveal the nature or amount of assets or the identity of any beneficiary.
Property can often be distributed to the beneficiaries shortly after the grantor`s death, avoiding much of the delay encountered with probate administration. Also, probate court approval is not necessary to sell an asset in a trust, thus avoiding further delay.
In addition to the avoidance of probate administration in Missouri, ancillary probate administration in other states where real estate is owned can be avoided by transferring the outofstate real estate to a revocable living trust. For those owning real estate in several states, this can be a significant advantage.
If the grantor becomes physically or mentally incapacitated, property held in this trust remains available to the grantor without the requirement of a court supervised guardianship or conservatorship. The successor trustee named in the trust document takes charge to manage the assets in the trust and pay the grantor`s bills.
The successor trustee can be a trusted relative or friend, or can be a professional trustee such as a trust company or a trust department of a bank. Missouri law does not require an individual serving as successor trustee to be a Missouri resident. However, certain restrictions apply to banks or trust companies whose principal place of business is located outside the state of Missouri. Since the activities of the successor trustee are not ordinarily supervised by a court or other independent third party, the selection of the successor trustee should be carefully considered.
The grantor is not limited to naming only one trustee. Two or more individuals may be named to serve as cotrustees or a combination of individuals and a corporate trustee may be named.
If an individual is to serve as successor trustee, the grantor should consider whether the trustee is to be bonded. The grantor`s decision should be clearly stated in the trust document. If a bond is required, the trustee normally pays the bond premium from the assets in the trust.
Under a recent change in Missouri law, professional corporation stock may be owned by a trust.
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This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified estate planning lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local estate planning attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.