Living trusts, otherwise known as revocable living trusts, are becoming a more popular tool for estate planning, and with good reason. There are many benefits to you and to your family for establishing a living trust. A revocable living trust places the assets of the trust holder in a trust for their benefit during their lifetime. When that person passes away, the assets of the trust are passed to designated beneficiaries in whatever way the trust holder dictated when creating the trust. There are many other benefits to establishing a living trust, and an experienced estate planning attorney will be able to help answer any questions you may have about creating a living trust.
The most popular reason people choose to create a living will is to avoid the future probate process of their estate. Probate is the court-supervised distribution of an estate, either according to a will, or if no will or living trust exists, by state laws dictating the distribution of an estate to heirs. Depending on the size and complexity of an estate, the probate process can take months or even years to complete and is not cheap. Owning property in more than one state also requires separate probate processes if no living trust exists. However, a living trust negates the need for the probate process because the assets of the trust are distributed according to the rules established when the trust was created. This can reduce estate distribution to mere weeks and at little to no cost to the estate.
Establishing a living will also protects your privacy and keeps the details of your estate away from prying public eyes. Any assets, property, and systems of distribution of the estate are kept private and out of the public record of probate court. This is not the case with a will, which must be presented to the court and is automatically made part of the public record. This also prevents anyone in the future from looking up the details of your estate with the local courthouse.
Help in Situations of Incapacitation
In the unfortunate event of incapacitation, a living trust can also protect you from the court system and court-appointed conservators. When establishing the trust, you can appoint a successor trustee to manage the trust in the case of incapacity. Moreover, since a living trust is revocable and changeable, you can dispute the incapacity at any time with the court to regain control of your trust after an incident.
Peace of Mind
Finally, a living trust can provide you with peace of mind in the estate planning process. A living trust can set up clear instruction for bequeathing assets and make sure that no one is accidentally left out of their inheritance. Conversely, it can also help you protect assets from certain people or parties that you do not wish to inherit from your estate. A living trust protects your assets during your lifetime and gives you the knowledge that it will be distributed according to your wishes after you are gone.
A Lawyer can Help
Christopher B. Johnson, located in Pasadena, California, has years of experience in all aspects of estate planning, and works with clients from all walks of life to create estate planning tools that reflect their needs and those of their beneficiaries. To request an immediate consultation, contact him today at (877) 755-9178.