Wondering if you need a living trust? A lot of people think trusts are only for the rich but that’s just not true. Experienced attorneys understand that a living trust is about helping, protecting, and providing for yourself and your family for generations to come. Learn more about what a living trust can do for you!
What is a Living Trust?
A living trust is an entity created during the Grantor’s lifetime to hold and manage assets. The Grantor is the person who creates the trust. After the Grantor’s death, the assets can be distributed directly to the Grantor’s beneficiaries without having to go into probate.
What is a Revocable/Irrevocable Living Trust?
- Revocable: A living trust can be revocable, which means assets are transferred into the name of the trust, but the Grantor retains the title and ability to alter them. A revocable living trust can be changed or revoked right up until the Grantor’s death. Revocable living trusts are the most common.
- Irrevocable: A living trust can also be irrevocable, meaning the Grantor relinquishes all their control and interest in assets to the trust. Once the trust retains title to the assets, the Grantor can no longer change or revoke anything.
What are the Benefits?
There are many benefits to having a living trust, including the following:
- Avoid Probate: Living trusts are usually not subject to the lengthy, expensive, and public probate process.
- Less Stress: Avoiding probate will relieve your loved ones of undue stress.
- Successor Trustee: You have the authority to name the person(s) who will be in charge of your estate after your death.
- Incapacity: You have the authority to name the person(s) who will act for you in the event you are incapacitated.
- Privacy: When a will goes through probate, it becomes a public document. Because a living trust does not go through that process, it protects your assets and wishes from becoming publicly accessible.
How Do I Create a Living Trust?
If you’ve decided a living trust is the right option for you, you will need to hire an attorney. Cheaper online methods of creating a living trust do exist, but hiring a professional is the best way to ensure that: 1) your assets are truly protected, 2) the trust follows current law, and 3) that your wishes are carried out legally and correctly. Many experienced estate planning attorneys also offer additional services like financial planning and trust administration.
How Can I Make Sure My Trust Works?
An estate plan that remains unfunded, unknown, and unchanged will ultimately fail. Make sure to fund your trust, notify the nominated Trustees & beneficiaries that the Trust exists, and update the trust every 3-5 years or at every major life event.