Preparing for the Worst – Living Trust or a Will?
The mere mention of words such as ‘will’, ‘estate planning’, or ‘probate’ sends anyone in earshot scurrying for safety. It is natural to avoid conversations that involve accepting the reality that life does eventually end, however, it is critical to sit down and plan out what will happen to your estate once you cannot advocate on your behalf. Most people are familiar with the concept of a will, however, an important tool to protecting your assets – and reducing the stress that comes with distributing them – is a living trust. A living trust confers a number of advantages over traditional wills, however, are not always an appropriate option.
First, a living trust preserves the privacy of the deceased and removes the need for probate – possibly the most stressful component of carrying out a will. A living trust avoids probate because there is a successor trustee that will distribute your assets as listed in the trust itself.
Second, due to the lack of court proceedings that normally accompany a will undergoing probate the amount of time spent distributing assets takes weeks as opposed to months or even years. Coupled with the fact that there is no need for attorneys, extensive court filings, or drawn-out conflicts over distributing assets a living trust saves on stress and money in addition to time.
Lastly, you can establish a living trust at any time and accompany it with a simple will in order to cover any assets not directly listed in the trust. This flexibility means you list critical, long-term assets, such as a family home or vacation rental, in the trust and less important assets, for example, older vehicles, in a simple will that you update as needed.
A Living trust acts as an invaluable tool for protecting your assets from creditors, government taxes and fees, and potential conflicts with relatives. As such, it is important that you file the correct paperwork in the appropriate manner in order to ensure the efficacy of your trust. Feel free to contact us in order to learn more about how we can help you protect your assets for generations to come.