Estate Planning - Morgan Stanley

We thought you'd be interested in a new brochure called Preparing for Your Meeting with an Estate Planning Attorney.

This piece provides you with some ideas on how you might want to put together your Last Will & Testament and/or personal trust. It is designed to give you a "head start" prior to an attorney meeting.

You have worked long and hard to achieve success and build wealth for you and your family. There have been numerous challenges along the way. You may be at a point now where your greatest challenge is preserving your wealth and building a plan for its transition to those you choose in a way you choose.

Whether you’re a young adult, middle-aged or a senior citizen, there are important reasons why you need a Last Will and Testament (a “Will”). It doesn’t matter if you are single, married, have children or do not have children. A Will transfers your assets according to your directions. This helps your family maintain control of assets and minimizes the government’s role in the distribution of your estate.

A revocable living trust is established while you are alive through a formal written legal document. The trust agreement allows you to transfer ownership of your property and/or assets from your name to the name of the trust. The terms of the trust agreement determine how your assets are managed while you are alive and how assets are to be held or distributed after your death.

Whether created from a Will, revocable living trust or independently by a grantor during life, most irrevocable trusts are discretionary trusts. A discretionary trust is one where typically the trustee has full control over all aspects of the trust. This includes investment discretion and distribution decision making.

When meeting with your attorney to create your Will or trust, you decide on the identity of the trustee, as well as the scope of the trustee’s powers and discretions. A trustee has the fiduciary responsibility to manage, administer and distribute trust assets according to the terms of the trust document. A trustee is required to follow rigorous standards set out in applicable state law, and to act impartially and exclusively in the interest of the current beneficiaries and the remaindermen of the trust.

Estate planning is a fluid process. Creating a Will or a trust is the obvious necessary first step but as life changes, your documents may require updating, revisions or total do-overs. Changes to your Will are done through either a Codicil to your Will or a brand new Will document. Changes to your revocable living trust are done with an Amendment or a totally restated revocable living trust document.

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