Trust Planning

Trust Planning Attorneys in Winston-Salem

Helping You Safeguard Your Legacy

Many people make the mistake of overlooking trusts during the estate planning process. A trust can help you preserve assets for future generations, and offers multiple benefits that a last will and testament can't always provide.

At Payne & Associates, PLLC, our Winston-Salem trust planning lawyers can help you understand how trusts work in North Carolina and help you develop a trust that safeguards your legacy.

To schedule a consultation with our team or learn more about our estate planning services, contact us onlineor via phone at (336) 585-8454.

What Is a Trust?

A trust is a legally binding arrangement that, like a last will and testament, helps an individual dictate how to distribute their assets if they die or become medically incapacitated.

Let's cover some common terms associated with trusts:

  • Grantor. The person who creates the trust is called the grantor.
  • Trustee. The trustee is in charge of making sure the terms of the trust are fulfilled if the grantor becomes disabled or dies. Many people name themselves the trustee of their trust, and then name a successor trustee who takes over the trust when they become incapacitated or pass away.
  • Decedent. A decedent is someone who has died.
  • Beneficiary. A beneficiary is someone named in a trust or will to receive certain assets from a decedent's estate.

Trustees can award beneficiaries with certain assets without using a will. For example, a person can use a trust to specify that they want their daughter to inherit their house if they become disabled or pass away.

Individuals can also set parameters for how assets are distributed using a trust. For example, let's say a person has a savings account with $200,000 they want to give their son after their death. That person can write a trust and specify that their son gets $25,000 a year for eight years after they die, instead of being awarded the $200,000 all at once.

There are two main types of trusts:

  • A revocable trust. A revocable trust can be altered by the grantor even after creating the trust.
  • An irrevocable trust. An irrevocable trust cannot be altered by the grantor after it is created.

How Do I Make a Living Trust in North Carolina?

The process for creating a revocable living trust in North Carolina is relatively simple. The first decision grantors make is whether to create a shared trust with another grantor (like their spouse) or an individual trust. After making that decision, the grantor must:

  • Establish the trustee. Again, most grantors name themselves the trustee.
  • Establish the successor trustee, who will take over the trust after the grantor passes away or becomes disabled. This can either be a trusted family member, or an individual like an attorney the grantor trusts.
  • Allocate assets. The grantor decides who they want to name as beneficiaries in their trust, and how they want to distribute their assets.
  • Draft the trust. At this point, the grantor should work with a trust planning attorney to develop a legally enforceable trust.
  • Sign the trust in front of a notary public. Signing the trust in front of a notary public makes it legally binding and enforceable.
  • Amend any asset titles to reflect the trust. Your trust planning attorney can help you amend the titles on certain assets, such as vehicles or estates, to reflect the creation of the trust.

Why Should I Create a Trust?

Many people wonder, "why do I need a trust? I already have a will." In truth, you should have a trust and a will. However, setting up a trust does have one major benefit that stands out: Trusts don't go through probate.

When a person dies, their estate goes through probate. During probate, the court helps distribute the decedent's assets. The probate process can be lengthy and expensive, but trusts don't have to go through probate. That makes trusts an excellent tool for distributing assets and helping a decedent's benificaries avoid the expenses and stress associated with probate.

On the other hand, wills can also handle certain affairs, like guardianship for the decedent's children, that a trust can't cover. Having both a trust and a will can help you safeguard your legacy for future generations and ensure your assets are appropriately distributed if you die or become disabled.

At Payne & Associates, PLLC, we can help you develop a comprehensive trust that protects your assets and preserves your estate for your beneficiaries.

To schedule a consultation with our team or learn more about our estate planning services, contact us onlineor via phone at (336) 585-8454.

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