Many people are familiar with wills, but fewer know a lot about living trusts. A living trust is an estate planning document that has many similarities to a last will and testament, but it also comes with some benefits that can make it much for preferable than a will for many people. When you establish a living trust, all of your assets are still yours, but they are held in trust throughout your lifetime; your trustee will follow your wishes regarding the trust following your death. If you are interested in a living trust, it is best to consult a living trust attorney, like those at Rudolph and Chonoles LLP, for assistance. Some of the top reasons to establish a living trust include the following:
Allow Your Heirs to Avoid the Probate Process
When a person passes away and has a legal last will and testament or no will at all, his or her estate must go through probate court. During this process, debts will be paid off, the estate will be reviewed, and assets will be distributed. A big downside of probate court is the fact that it is a long, drawn-out process. Family members may also have to hire additional lawyers to help them deal with the entire probate process. When you have a living trust, your entire estate can skip the probate process, making things much easier for your family.
Protect Your Family's Privacy
Another reason that many people like living trusts is because they protect privacy. If you opt for a will over a living trust, the information in your will is made public during the probate process. It is not uncommon for people to want to keep information about their estate private, especially if one has a sizeable estate. With a living trust, information about your estate is not made public after your death, so if your heirs inherit a good amount of money or assets, there is no worry about the whole world knowing and potentially targeting them for scams or harassing them.
Control the Distribution of Your Assets
A trust does not automatically dissolve after you die. You can opt to keep some or all of your assets in trust until a specific point in time. People often opt to do this when they are leaving money or assets to their children or grandchildren. Most very young adults don't make the best decisions, so few people want their heirs to gain access to their inheritance before they are a legal adult at the age of 18. Having a living trust makes it easy to stipulate that your heirs are not allowed to access the bulk of their trust until they reach a certain age.