Who Needs A Living Trust?
Creating a Living Trust for the purpose of avoiding probate is an excellent strategy – but do you really need one?
The answer is a little more complex than a simple “Yes” or “No”. Depending on several factors, you may need one immediately, or you may never need one; the majority of us are somewhere in-between.
What is the Purpose of Probate?
Probate is designed to distribute a person’s property after death according to their Last Will and Testament. Probate, the legal process of validating your will, is not only time consuming, but it is also expensive, takes longer to establish, involves more ongoing maintenance, and is more trouble to modify.
Avoiding probate can save your family money. However, with a little planning, there are other options to consider for transferring assets to your loved ones that are probate-free and can be executed prior to your passing.
Four alternative ways to accomplish this would be to…
- Make cash gifts before your death
- Create a pay-on-death designation to a bank account
- Create a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship with your spouse/partner
- Name beneficiaries for your life insurance, IRA, 401k and other retirement accounts
Living Trust vs. No Living Trust
A Living Trust offers something not available with the alternatives above, mainly, flexibility:
- They can be used for all types of property – jewelry, boats, cars, businesses, houses, horses, etc.
- You can name alternate beneficiaries in the event of your primary beneficiary’s early demise
Why Hire an Attorney
Living Trusts do have a downside. First, the cost: A Living Trust prepared by an attorney will cost $1000+. You will also need a simple will. Navigating the legalities and the intricacies of these processes can be complex. By engaging the knowledge and skills of the attorneys from the ProAdvocate Group they will help you make sense of it all, help you prepare your estate documents properly to avoid any challenges down the road and save you money.
Here are some factors to consider that may help you decide if you need a Living Trust
If you are under 55 years old and in good health, you probably don’t need a Living Trust unless you have many assets. In most cases, a will with alternative probate-avoidance techniques should be adequate. If you are unsure, you can always discuss your situation with one of our attorneys at the ProAdvocate Group.
The number of assets you own plays a significant role, as does owning a small business. If you are married, typically the majority of your property and assets are left to one another. Additionally, most states provide expedited probate procedures for surviving spouses that are cheaper and faster than standard probate.
If you determine that you would benefit from having a living trust or are ready to create your estate plan or are simply not sure how to proceed, contact the offices of the ProAdvocate Group and speak to one of the attorneys today. They will provide you with a free consultation and help you understand what would make the best sense for you.