Preparing for when a loved one passes will allow you to endure the loss without adding the stress and pressures of dealing with all of the details of an estate. If you’re wealthy, then the alarming tax rate on gits has likely been of concern. Taking action by preplanning for the distribution of an estate allows peace to those you love who will be grieving and allows you peace of mind about the future and what will happen to your home.
A trust transfers the title of ownership of the property out of your name and into the trust instrument or trust, under the care of a trustee and provides protections to your heirs. The alternative, for those unprepared, is being assaulted with the harsh realities of infighting among the heirs, probate court, estate taxes, and creditors at the door.
If this isn’t the scenario you picture for yourself or your loved ones, here’s what you should know about real estate trusts in Maryland.
Why Trusts Matter
Real estate deeded into a trust in Maryland enables the beneficiaries to circumvent a great deal of paperwork and red tape during a challenging time by avoiding probate court. Probate is a time-consuming and expensive process that can take several months or even years to conclude. The probate court also oversees the distribution of funds and ensures the repayment of any creditors against the decedent’s estate. A will sets out how the decedent wished for their trustee to distribute the assets. Without a will, the probate court determines the guidelines for distribution, usually set out by the state regarding inheritance and transference of the property title to the heirs. The heirs will receive the money at closing when and if the property sells.
There is a lifetime exclusion on the transfer of gifts or estates which is adjusted annually for cost of living increases, in 2021 the amount was set at 11.7 million per individual and 23.4 million for couples. After your lifetime exclusion is met, if you’re married and your spouse is deceased, their exclusion rolls over to the survivor. If your home is under a trust, your heirs will realize gift tax savings, ranging from 8 to 40 percent and generally paid by the gifter. The estate portion of this tax is applied upon death, and the trust may also protect the home from creditors. Another benefit of real estate trusts is that they are private transfers of wealth, not a matter of public record as with probate.
Setting Up a Trust
Another thing you should know about real estate trusts in Maryland is that there are dozens of structures, so it’s important that you take a careful examination of your options before deciding which type of trust suits your estate best. Your estate may hold more value than you realize, and there are benefits to creating a trust so that your estate can be inherited by your heirs. You’ll need to gather all of your important documents and take a realistic assessment of your assets. You may have a family member that you wish to ensure a supplemental income to, you can create a special needs trust that will fulfill your wishes. Perhaps you have a financially irresponsible family member, you can create a spendthrift trust that provides protection against their creditors as well as limiting access to the principal funds. When the trust is irrevocable, this means there will be no second-guessing your actions, there is no way to change your mind once your home or other assets have been transferred to the real estate trust. Irrevocable trusts, however, qualify your beneficiaries for estate tax exemption, in most cases, so the matter should be carefully weighed.
When considering the process, there are different options to establish ownership such as creating a real estate trust or forming a limited liability company (LLC). If you feel comfortable handling the process yourself, you can create your own trust or utilize an online service, but it is advisable to seek professional legal counsel for guidance. Additionally, you will need to decide on a successor trustee who will be responsible for managing the estate. It is essential to have a conversation with the chosen individual to ensure their willingness to take on this responsibility. Once these decisions are made, the trust documents should be prepared, and subsequently, the property’s deed can be transferred into the real estate trust. As the trustee, you will hold the title to the property, and it should reflect your name and the precise date of transfer.
Simple Homebuyers can help if you need to sell after the loss of a loved one. With very little time involved, Simple Homebuyers wants to make the process as stressless as possible, making you a fair cash offer and closing in a matter of days or weeks. Simple Homebuyers understands this is a difficult time and our experienced professionals are happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Send us a message or call Simple Homebuyers at (240) 776-2887.