Deciding on whether a will or a living trust is the right choice for you can be tricky. Often it comes down to whether the amount of money saved from avoiding probate is worth the cost and the effort spent on a living trust. There are advantages to both estate planning tools, and there is no standard answer to which is a better choice. Your estate plan should be chosen in a way that best benefits you and your family. We have compiled eight reasons to consider contacting a living trust attorney to construct your own living trust.
1. Living trusts take effect while you are alive. A living trust allows you to plan your estate while you are alive whereas a will takes effect only after you pass. This allows for more detailed and thoughtful dispersion of your belongings that can be tweaked over time as you see fit.
2. Living trusts hold up against incapacity. In the case of any incapacity, a living trust will make managing your estate much easier than simply having a power of attorney designated. Financial institutions have no obligation to accept power of attorneys, but they must recognize successor trustees.
3. A living trust holds up in court if someone were to contest it. Assuming someone was to contest your estate, a living trust would stand up much better to the contests than a will.
4. A living trust can provide more privacy. Because a trust does not have to go through probate (a court process that validates a will), it will not become a matter of public record. A will must be made public due to the presentation nature of the probate process.
5. Property you transfer into a living trust doesn’t go through probate. Probate courts have no control over living trusts, so any property in the trust is not part of the decedent’s probated estate. This will help reduce the probate fees. The result is that the successor trustee (the person you appoint to handle your trust after your death) only has to simply transfer ownership of the property in the trust. This process requires no court fees and takes only a few weeks to complete.
6. A living trust is designed to manage, hold, and assign assets. While a will only deals with the assignment of your assets, a living trust allows you to assign a person to manage the assets or keep them held indefinitely. Common reasons for holding assets include: the management of assets until a beneficiary is of age, providing care for pets, or protecting a beneficiary with special needs as they receive disability income.
7. Living trusts can pre-appoint a manager for a minor’s assets. While a will is needed to appoint a guardian for a child or minor, a living trust is needed in order to designate a separate guardian for the minor’s inherited assets until they are older and more fiscally responsible.
8. Living trusts can minimize estate taxes for married couples by doubling estate tax exemptions. A will alone cannot double the exemptions.
Attorney Adam Tobin, an experienced Living Trust Attorney can discern whether a trust is advisable for your personal situation. Read about the different types of trusts or contact us to arrange a free consultation with Living Trust Attorney Adam J. Tobin