When a Living Trust Is Not Necessary

While having a living trust carries the wonderful perk of getting out of probate, this will not be a necessity in every estate plan. There are a number of drawbacks and benefits to having this as part of your estate plan, and you will have to weigh for yourself whether or not your specific situation would require a living trust. An experienced legal expert can help you better understand what you need in your estate plan, but here is an overview of some things to consider before you create a living trust.

Probate is a huge concern. This can eat up a hefty amount of time, as much as years, and it can rack up serious expenses as well. If probate can be evaded, this can save weeks, even months of time. Probate avoidance can be achieved through multiple steps, such as keeping your house in joint tenancy, giving out gifts before passing away, and getting life insurance and/or a retirement account for a beneficiary, etc. A living trust is an exceptionally powerful way of avoiding probate, however, as any type of property can be placed in it. A trust also gives a lot of freedom in creating a plan, such as being able to name alternate beneficiaries.

Of course, not everything about a living trust is positive. For instance, creating a living trust will cost more time than would creating a will. And while once you have created a will, it sits in a safe spot, a living trust requires regular attention. It is also harder to alter a living trust than it is to modify a will. Also, creating a trust will not eliminate the need for a will. It can also be a pricy thing to actually draw up the trust.

That is only a brief snapshot of the advantages and drawbacks of a living trust, but that is something you want to look into further if you are actually going to proceed with getting one. But first of all, you have to consider your own position. For instance, how old are you? Someone with a middle income who is younger than 55 or 60 and is in good enough health can probably wait to get a living trust. In the meantime, a will could help such a person in the event that they should pass away suddenly. A living trust makes more sense for someone who will probably pass away within ten years.

Then there is your income to assess. The higher the income, the greater the benefit of avoiding probate. For example, while $300,000 is no small number, if a 45-year-old has this much, there is probably still time to wait on creating that trust. Someone of that age with millions of dollars, however, would probably make a trust as a precaution. When looking at one's wealth, it also matters what kind of property is included. For example, owning a small business may be one huge reason to create a living trust sooner than normal.

Finally, there is your marital status. If you are married, and you and your spouse intend to give one another most of your property, and most assets are under both your names, then there is little reason to fear probate. The assets that are under your spouse's name as well as yours would not go into probate. In most states, surviving spouses are further able to have the rest of the property go through a quicker version of probate.

If you have any further questions about your estate planning, or if you want to create a living trust, then it is time to find an experienced probate lawyer. You can begin your search on our directory today!