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    Basic estate planning protects individual and legacy


    Revocable living trust 

    The previous four documents are essential as a starting point. This fifth document–a revocable living trust–is one that you may want to discuss with an attorney. It may be suitable for your situation, but in some cases, the attorney may suggest that it is not necessary. 

    If your attorney suggests creating such a trust, you can be your own trustee. You receive all of the income from the trust assets, and you have full access to the trust principal.

    A revocable living trust can be altered at any point during your lifetime. You can change beneficiaries or discontinue the trust at your discretion.

    At your death, this trust becomes irrevocable. The person you name as successor trustee will follow the instructions in the trust to manage the assets and liabilities and to distribute the assets in trust.

    You should know that ongoing management affects only assets that you have retitled in the name of the trust. If your attorney suggests a revocable living trust, you will want to follow his or her instructions regarding retitling assets and accounts.  

    You still need a “pour-over” will to govern assets that are not titled in the name of the trust, and also to appoint guardians for minors.

    Other advantages of a living trust are the successor trustee can manage the assets on your behalf if you become disabled or incapacitated during your lifetime. Assets in the trust then avoid the probate process upon death.

    Since you maintain control of the assets within the trust, they remain part of your taxable estate. However, a revocable living trust can also include provisions to help reduce estate taxes after your death.


    John J., John S, and Traudy F. Grande, CFPs, are the editors of the Money Matters column. They are owners and principals of Grande Financial Services Inc., Oakhurst, NJ, (www.grandefs.com) and registered principals of Wells Fargo & Co., member of SIPC. The Grandes advise doctors across the country on a diverse range of investment and financial matters. Readers may submit their financial questions to them at [email protected] or call 800/722-1258.

    The views expressed in the Money Matters column are the views of Grande Financial Services, and should not be considered as investment advice. Grande Financial Services does not provide tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, Grande Financial Services make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal.

    This presentation is intended to be informative and educational in nature. Wells Fargo Advisors do not provide legal, accounting, or tax advice. Any estate plan should be reviewed by an attorney who specializes in estate planning and is licensed to practice law in your state.

    This presentation is based on internal and external sources that are considered reliable; however, the accuracy and completeness of the information is not guaranteed.

    Wells Fargo Advisors’ view is that investment decisions should be based on investment merit, not solely on tax considerations. The effects of taxes are a critical factor in achieving a desired after-tax return on your investments. You should direct specific questions on taxes, as they relate to your situation, to your tax advisor.

    Trusted services available through banking and trust affiliates in addition to non-affiliated companies of Wells Fargo Advisors.

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