Create a Living Trust in Kansas

Create a Living Trust in Kansas

by Brette Sember, Esq., May 2015

A Kansas living trust is a popular way to manage assets during your life and help you manage them after you pass away. A revocable living trust offers a variety of benefits that makes creating one appealing.

Living Trusts in Kansas

A living trust is a way for the settlor (creator of the trust) to provide for asset management and distribution. The settlor places assets into the trust and chooses a trustee. The trustee can be anyone, but cannot be the only beneficiary of the trust. Many people name themselves to be trustee and select a successor trustee to manage the trust after death. During the lifetime of the settlor, the assets in the trust are managed and used for his benefit. After the settlor’s death the trustee is responsible for managing the assets and distributing them to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust. Most living trusts are revocable, meaning they can be changed or deleted during the settlor’s life. An irrevocable living trust becomes permanent once it is created. A living trust in Kansas may be created if the settlor lives in Kansas, the trustee lives or works in Kansas, or trust property is located in Kansas.

One of the advantages of a living trust is that it allows the assets in the trust to be distributed to beneficiaries without having to go through probate proceedings. Kansas has not enacted the Uniform Probate Code, so probating an estate takes many months and incurs the expenses of an executor and an attorney. A simplified estate proceeding is available for estates less than $20,000 and in that instance that process would be much less expensive than a trust.

In Kansas, a surviving spouse has the right to apply what is called the elective share against a living trust. This means if the spouse is disinherited, he or she has the right to obtain a percentage of the deceased spouse’s assets even if they are not left to the survivor.

Do I Need a Living Trust in Kansas?

Creating a living trust in Kansas has the benefit of creating a veil of privacy around your assets. When you die, your trust is not made public. Your assets, beneficiaries, or trust terms do not become public record. In contrast, a will must be probated and becomes public.

Control is another primary benefit of a revocable living trust. During your lifetime, you remain in control of your assets. You manage them and use them as you please. There are no restrictions. The trust also allows for some control of assets after you die. A will passes assets once probate concludes, but a trust allows you to name dates or events for the passage of your assets to your beneficiaries, such as specific birthdays. This gives you control beyond the grave. In addition, a trust is more difficult to contest than a will, providing greater security that your wishes will be carried out.

A revocable living trust protects you should you become mentally incapacitated. All of your assets are already controlled, owned, and managed by the trust and a conservatorship proceeding is likely unnecessary for you to have your financial life managed for your benefit.

Living Trusts and Estate Taxes in Kansas

A living trust does not provide protection from the federal estate tax (applied to estates over $5 million). Kansas does not have an estate tax. It is possible to avoid federal estate taxes for large estates if you create an AB trust, sometimes called a marital or QTIP trust. This trust passes assets from a spouse to the surviving spouse without estate tax. A revocable living trust does not shield assets from Medicaid spend down or from creditors.

How to Create a Living Trust in Kansas

The best way to create a living trust in Kansas is to create a trust document and sign it in front of a notary. Kansas law allows for oral trusts if they can be proven by clear and convincing evidence. Once a trust is created, assets are transferred into the trust. Living trusts are an important consideration when creating an estate plan. The many benefits of a living trust may make one right for you.

Create a living trust online with LegalZoom. The process begins with answering a few simple questions online. LegalZoom reviews your answers and sends your complete living trust package by mail.