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Living trusts are an often misunderstood, but many times essential, estate planning document. They help you avoid probate, allow for greater control over inheritances, and can even save your family a lot of stress after you’re gone.
Should you make a living trust a part of your estate plan? Walk-In Wills can help you decide. No two estate planning situations are the same, so we’ll sit down with you to create the best strategy for assets and property. The first step is to understand how living trusts work.
Will creation doesn’t change the ownership of your assets and property. Instead, it provides instructions for how these items should be distributed to heirs after you die. With a living trust, you no longer own your assets. Upon creation they become property of the trust itself, which entails retitling assets to show trust ownership.
While you’re alive you’ll be the trustee, which is the person responsible for managing the trust. You’ll also name successor trustees, and these people assume responsibility upon your passing. The transfer of ownership offers a distinct benefit when it comes to probate.
Probate determines whether a will is valid, makes sure remaining debts are paid, and finally provides assets to heirs once all other matters are taken care of. The process is often drawn out, especially when a family member contests the will. Additionally, legal fees and other costs are taken directly from the estate, which reduces the amount heirs are afforded when everything is said and done.
Assets placed in a trust are not probated because they are no longer owned by the deceased. Upon a person’s passing, the trustee is obligated to disperse assets according to the instructions of the grantor, or the person who created the trust. This makes for a much shorter process and also prevents the estate from being drained by legal fees.
Living trusts are also beneficial in other ways:
Can a living trust replace a will? How are trusts funded? What special distribution rules make sense for your situation? Walk-In Wills is here to answer these questions, so you make the best decisions regarding your estate.
We’ll set up a free one-hour consultation to discuss your estate planning needs. Contact an attorney today by calling (505) 903-7000. You can also visit us online for a complete listing of estate plan packages.