What is a trust? Should I have one? What does a trust do for me?
These are questions we get all the time from an array of people. Estate Planning is an important issue that everyone needs to take on at one point or another. However most people don’t know what tools are out there or have no idea how to plan. The key to figuring this all out? Education! We pride ourselves on not only providing exceptional legal service for our clients, but we always educate our clients on imperative estate planning tools. That way you know exactly what is going on at all times. So, what are the three biggest reasons to have a trust?
1) Prevent Your Assets From Being Frozen Upon Your Death
Did you know that when you’re gone, your assets are frozen until the court can decide who they should go to? This happens with every single asset that is titled in your name. So think about how many things you have in your name: car, house, bank accounts, savings bonds, mutual funds, mineral interest, stocks, shares of corporations, interest in LLCs, and countless other items. But it doesn’t end there. The court can decide what to do with high value items within the home, including art, gun collections, and jewelry. A revocable living trust can prevent this from happening all together!
2) Avoid the Expensive and Timely Probate Process with the Court
So how does your family get your name off of the things you own once you’re gone? That’s right, the dreaded probate process at the courthouse! Probate can be one of the most complicated legal procedures for a family to go through. This process takes several months to complete and is full of paperwork, accountings, dealing with creditors, etc. Not only is probate a very cumbersome process, it is also an extremely expensive process. What does your estate have to pay for in order to be probated? Executor fees, attorney fees, court costs, filing fees, accounting, and sometimes even realtor fees! Studies have shown that roughly 10% of the estate is lost to the probate process. Again, correctly establishing a revocable living trust can prevent all of this and you can be assured that 100% of what you leave behind can be passed down to your family.
3) Ensure a Quick and Easy Transfer of Your Assets to Your Loved Ones
This is the best part of estate planning and the biggest benefit to having a revocable living trust! When done correctly, you can make sure that nothing is frozen, there is no money wasted, and your family has immediate access to everything you left behind for them. The individual you name as trustee can distribute all of the assets in the exact manner in which YOU have directed (and he or she can do so without burdensome court proceedings or numerous hoops to jump through).