Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Four Benefits of a Living Trust

Estate planning is largely centered on relieving the worries that result from the death of a loved one.  Nobody wants their family and friends to be weighed down during a time of grief by avoidable court costs, unprotected assets, and ugly disputes among disgruntled heirs.  It’s much better to provide your heirs with an estate plan that allows them to avoid court and offers more privacy and protection.  Often the best solution is to have an attorney create a properly prepared and funded Living Trust in order to accomplish the following:
1. Avoid Probate.  For a Will to be verified and enforced, it must go through probate, which can be a long, stressful, and costly process. If you own property in another state, your family may also have to endure probate in that state, called an ancillary estate.
2. Maintain Privacy.  Probate is a public process, so interested parties are able to submit claims and contest your will.  Solicitors also will have access to your family’s personal and financial information.
3. Limit Court Interference during Incapacity.  If you become incapacitated, your care and assets may require expensive legal proceedings and guardianship.  A Will is not helpful, as it takes effect only when you die.  But a Living Trust allows your care and assets to be managed privately during your incapacity by people you’ve chosen in advance.
4. Protections for Your Beneficiaries.  A Living Trust can contain spendthrift provisions to shield assets from a beneficiary’s personal creditors, and allow you to control the age and other circumstances at which a beneficiary can have access to assets.