If you are in a relatively simple situation with regard to your family dynamic and your financial resources you may find yourself facing a choice between a last will and a living trust when you are planning your estate. We would like to take a brief look at the reasons why so many informed people choose a living trust.
Some people incorrectly believe you relinquish control of the assets with a living trust, and this can seem disconcerting. It is true you will no longer have direct ownership of the assets as they will be titled in the name of your trust. However, you will be the trustee of the trust and have total authority over the day to day management of your assets, just as you do today. And, the trust is revocable. So, as the creator of the trust you can revoke, amend or modify the trust at any time and that gives you total control of your plan. You will be the beneficiary of the trust and receive the money so you can pay your bills when they come in.
With these trusts you can also include an incapacity provision that can prevent a guardianship or conservatorship hearing. And, you can arrange for a professional fiduciary to manage the assets after you pass away and distribute resources to your beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes.
The icing on the cake is the fact that the distributions take place outside of the process of probate.
When you use a last will your estate must be probated. During this interim the probate court supervises the estate administration. This can take anywhere from several months to a decade or more depending on the complexity of the case.
On the positive side a will is less expensive to create, but there are probate expenses that can ultimately eat up the savings.
The best way to proceed is to explore all of your options in detail with the benefit of professional guidance and expertise. If you are ready to get started, take action right now to set up an informative consultation with a seasoned, savvy Oklahoma City estate planning lawyer.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday