The revocable living trust is a very popular estate planning device. There are two benefits that are most frequently highlighted. One of them is the fact that a living trust will provide asset protection for the beneficiaries after you pass away.
Another one is the streamlined estate administration. When you use a will, it must be admitted to probate. This is a time-consuming process. Asset transfers that are facilitated through the terms of a living trust are not subject to probate.
These benefits alone are enough to make you think about using a living trust. There are also some other ones that fly under the radar. We will look at them in this post.
You Can Account for Personally Held Property
At the time of your death, you may have some property in your personal possession. You may not have signed over this property to your trust for one reason or another. To prevent an intestacy situation that would be sorted out in court, you can include a pour-over will.
This would allow the trust to absorb assets that were in your direct possession. The probate court would be involved in the approval process, but it would be a simple and straightforward matter.
A Married Couple Can Create a Joint Living Trust
You and your spouse could potentially create a joint living trust, and you would act as co-trustees. This can be a sensible course of action if most of your valuable property is jointly owned. Both of you will need to agree that the surviving spouse will become the sole owner of such property.
It is possible to convey separate property into the trust as well. You can name any beneficiaries you choose. The surviving spouse would not be able to change the terms that apply to separate property.
The Trust Can Be Amended or Restated
If circumstances change, you may want to revise the terms of the trust, You can do this at any time. You can use an amendment to make relatively minor changes, like the size of the bequests or the successor trustee designation.
If you are going to make a very significant change such as the total disinheritance of one of your beneficiaries or a spousal change, the trust restatement may be more appropriate.
A Disability Trustee Can Be Empowered
One of the harsh realities of aging is the fact that many elders become unable to handle their affairs at some point in time.
Alzheimer’s disease strikes over 30 percent of the older population. Unfortunately it is not the only cause of dementia. In addition to cognitive impairment, serious medical conditions can make it impossible for some seniors to manage their finances.
When you have a living trust, you can name a disability trustee to act as the administrator if you become unable to manage the trust on your own.
Living Trusts Are Affordable to Create
There are those that have an interest in the utilization of a living trust. Unfortunately, they do not act because they harbor misconception. They are under the impression that you have to pay exorbitant legal fees to engage an attorney to establish a living trust, but this is simply not the case.
Obviously, there is an investment involved, but most people are surprised when they understand what to expect. Plus, in the long run, a professionally prepared estate plan that is custom crafted to suit your needs can potentially save your family money.
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