Many attorneys and financial professionals recommend you have a revocable living trust as it facilitates asset transfers outside of probate.
If you use a will, it is admitted to probate, which can be a costly and time-consuming legal process. In addition to the time and money factor, there is a loss of privacy because the records are available to the public.
When a living trust is used, the assets are distributed outside of probate, so these drawbacks are avoided. This is a major positive, but there are other benefits that fly under the radar, which we will look at in this post.
Control and Flexibility
You never know what the future holds, so it would be disconcerting to convey assets into a trust if you did not have total control of the resources. With a living trust, you can act be the trustee, and control the trust in every way.
With a revocable trust, you can rescind or change the trust at any time. If you rescind it, the trust assets return to your personal ownership.
You have a great deal of flexibility in that you can change the terms at any time, you can add additional property into the trust, and make any desired distributions from it.
Solution for Married Couples
If you are married and own property jointly, a shared living trust can be the ideal estate planning tool. You would each act as co-trustee while you are living, and the survivor could be (but need not be) the sole trustee after the death of one spouse.
The surviving spouse would control the jointly held and separate property in the trust.
If you convey personal property into the trust, you may but need not name your spouse as the beneficiary. In many blended families, each spouse provides for certain property to pass to their descendants and not to the surviving spouse.
A surviving spouse cannot change the terms that apply to the separate property conveyed into the trust by the deceased spouse.
Account for Incapacity
Many elders become unable to manage their affairs at some point due to cognitive impairment or other causes of incapacity. With a living trust, you can empower a disability trustee to administer the trust in the event of your incapacity.
You may be concerned about assets that might not have been conveyed into your trust while you were living. This is addressed with a pour over will.
The pour over will facilitates the transfer of these assets into your trust after your passing. The probate court may be involved, but it usually is a simple, straightforward, and time-efficient process.
The Affordability Factor
A lot of people are concerned about legal fees. They assume it is expensive to create a living trust. In reality, our clients tend to be pleasantly surprised at the amount involved.
Plus, as we have touched upon, if your will is the centerpiece of your estate plan, significant expenses will be incurred during probate . An investment in the creation of a living trust will yield dividends in the long run.
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If you have already decided you want to work with an estate planning attorney to put a plan in place, there is no time like the present. You can schedule a consultation appointment by calling 405-843-6100, or you can use our contact form to send us a message.
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