Ensuring that your assets are passed on to heirs in a way that you wish is not always easy because of the many options available and the fact that the tax laws are always changing. While certain facts are relatively fixed – i.e., beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement plans avoid having these particular assets subject to probate, others are subject to change. Keep up with these changes by meeting with your estate planning attorney on a timely basis.
The use of trusts to help estates avoid probate is well established in any estate planning law practice, but when laws change, estate planning must change also. An explanation comes from The (Anderson, IN) Herald Bulletin article, "Changes in laws can affect your estate planning," which explains how the revocable grantor trust works and why it was created: to help people avoid probate.
A revocable grantor trust roles include the grantor (the person making the gift), the trustee in charge of the trust (typically the grantor), the income beneficiary (also usually the grantor), and the remainder beneficiary. Taxes that are generated from investments and income are reported on a standard tax return. When assets are placed in a trust, individuals have control and the use of the assets. Ownership is structured so that there is no probate. Individuals should fund the trust with as many assets with which they are comfortable (except IRAs and retirement accounts).