Thank you for visiting our Client Care Center, created exclusively for our valued clients. The purpose of this area is to provide you tools that you can use to keep your estate plan up-to-date and review new activities happening at the law firm.
Estate plans are a lot like owning a car. They work well if you keep them serviced over the years. But your older model car may need a tune up once in a while. Likewise, tax and estate planning laws are continually updated which changes the way people plan and update their plans. With change, comes opportunity. These changes often provide new planning techniques and more protection than ever before. Since our law firm focuses primarily on estate planning, we keep up on the latest planning options available to deal with and protect against the real-life issues you and your family are facing in today’s hectic world.
That is why it is important to review your estate plan with us periodically to make sure it takes into account any changes you may have had since first creating your estate plan.
Some of these changes may be due to a death in the family, a divorce in the family, births, adoptions, second marriages or a new inheritance. These changes can have a dramatic affect on your estate plan if not planned for carefully.
If you are ever in doubt of how any of these changes can affect your current estate plan, please contact our office. We will gladly review your plan to see what if anything needs to be done.
1. INCOME TAXES: You will file your income taxes the same way you have in the past, using your Social Security Number.
Remember: the Trust is your alter ego, nothing changes!
2. PROPERTY TAXES: You will receive your original fully recorded Deed back from our office with a letter indicating that your property has been transferred into the name of your Living Trust. Once this transfer is complete, the tax assessor will bill you at a rate of 6%. You will need to re-apply for your 4% tax rate. Generally, the tax assessor will request you send the following pages: 1-1 (Article One), 3-2 (Appointment of Trustees), 4-1 (“Present Income Beneficiary”), Signature Pages and the complete Certificate of Trust. If you need a letter from your attorney, please give the office a call and we will send the assessor a letter verifying the existence of your Trust.
*Remember: You are the present income beneficiary during your lifetime. No one else benefits from your Trust during your lifetime.
3. ORIGINAL SIGNED DOCUMENTS: We do not keep your originals. Your original Trust documents are printed on the cream bond paper and given to you in a manila envelope at your signing. Please do not mark or rearrange the original documents.
4. DOCUMENT REQUESTS: The red portfolio binder signature pages are intentionally left blank, as the portfolio serves as a copy of your Trust. If an institution requests an original copy of your Certificate of Trust or other Trust Document, make sure you provide them with a copy of the signed original (printed on cream bond paper).
5. PURCHASING NEW ASSETS: If you purchase new assets that require a title, you should purchase the asset in the name of your Trust. You may need a copy of the Certificate of Trust to prove the existence of your Trust.
*Remember: A copy of the Certificate of Trust is just as valid as the original.
6. DEEDS: Once you execute your deed transferring your property into your Trust, it is sent by our office to the county RMC to be recorded. Once complete, the RMC sends the deed back to our office. We then make a copy of the deed for your file and send you the original recorded deed to be placed with your other original Estate Planning documents.
*Please note: this process may take a while depending on the speed of the RMC office so please be patient!
7. VEHICLES: When you re-title your vehicle into the name of your revocable living trust, the Auditor’s Office considers this a transfer of property, and property taxes will be assessed. The Auditor’s Office will not pro-rate those taxes if you have already paid them this year. Therefore, we recommend that you wait until the property taxes are due on your vehicle before transferring.
1. Go to your local Auditor’s Office. Explain that you would like to transfer your vehicle into your revocable living trust and then pay your property tax bill. The Auditor’s Office should change the name in their system. Have your original Certificate of Trust with you in case it is needed.
2. Go to the Department of Motor Vehicles: (visit www.scdmvonline.com for locations). You will need the following:
- Your property tax bill that you just paid at the Auditor’s Office and proof of payment.
- Your Certificate of Trust
- The title to your vehicle
- A completed Form 400
There will be a $25.00 fee to transfer title.
If you have any questions or problems you can contact our firm at (843)577-3700.