If you are beginning to engage in estate planning, or are just looking to make adjustments to the plan that you already have in place, you may want to consider establishing a revocable living trust. This is very different than just creating a will.
Although both will eventually get the contents of your estate to your beneficiaries, a living trust offers you additional benefits while you are living. A living trust is not for everyone, but you may want to consider it if you fit into one of these two categories.
If You Want to Save Your Family Time and Money
When you die, your estate has to go through probate, a court-supervised distribution of your assets. This allows all of the assets in your estate to be legally distributed to your heirs and beneficiaries, as well as settles the outstanding debt and liabilities that may be against the estate. Unfortunately, this is not always a quick process. The length of time that it takes for your estate to get through probate depends on several factors which include:
- How large your estate is
- How complicated the estate is
- How many heirs or beneficiaries there are
- Where the estate executor or administrator lives in conjunction to the estate
- What state probate is filed in
- If the will is being contested
In addition to this, the court will also have to determine if the estate has any outstanding debt. If so, the court and the estate executor will have to determine which assets will be used to pay this debt. If the estate does not have enough cash to do so, assets will have to be sold before they can be distributed.
All of this takes time. Probate can range from months to years. In addition to this, going through probate can cost your heirs approximately 5% of the value of your estate. When you create a living trust, it will help your estate to avoid having to go through probate. This means that all of your assets will go to your beneficiaries in a much quicker fashion.
If You Want to Remain in Control
Unfortunately, not all of your friends or family members may agree with your decisions on what to leave to whom. These types of disagreements can lead to family challenging your will once you die, and once they do so, it will be up to the court to decide where your assets go. A living trust holds up much better in court than a will does. Although people who disagree with your decisions may still try to challenge, their chances of winning will be greatly diminished.
A living trust will also allow you to appoint a successor trustee. This is a person who will take over and make decisions for you if you are ever incapacitated due to a physical or mental disability. By being able to do this, you will be able to name the person who you feel will have your best interest in mind and not have to wait for the court to appoint conservatorship.
If you decide that you are one of the many people who would benefit from allowing the Law Offices Of Steve C. Benton to assist you in setting up a living trust, just know that you may need a pour-over will as well. This will allow you to direct anything that you have not turned over to the trust to the proper beneficiaries. You may also need to use this tool in order to name a legal guardian for any children who may still be minors at the time of your death. You will be unable to do this as a part of your living trust.
Call the Law Offices of Steve C. Benton today. We will be happy to help you with setting up your trust, as well as any other estate planning provisions that you would like to put into place.