Do I Need a Revocable Living Trust?

A revocable living trust is one tool that is available for those planning their estates. It is used to determine who gets certain property in the event that the property holder dies. These types of trusts have the ability to be altered as circumstances change. Additionally, they are made during the person's lifetime, so they act as a living document.

One of the most common reasons that an estate planner will use a revocable living trust is in order to avoid the probate process. When probate is used, the court will be involved in handling the details of their property and can use the property to pay off debts and probate costs. Using a living trust means that the probate process can be entirely bypassed for those items included, since the trust is still enacted.

What are the benefits of a living trust?

A living trust puts the property in the hands of someone that will take care of it, called the trustee. Upon the death of the trust-maker, the trustee will take the responsibility for ensuring that property is distributed according to the wishes of the will. Property for the trust must be detailed in the trust document to be included.

A living trust will allow an individual to do the following:

  • Leave property and accounts to beneficiaries
  • Leave property to young children
  • Change the details of the trust as needed
  • Avoid the probate process
  • Reduce court disputes over the estate
  • Avoid conservatorship
  • Keeping the document private until death

If a living trust seems like the best option, there are two ways that one can be enacted. One of those ways is to hire an attorney to prepare the document. The other way develop a living trust is to do it without counsel, which will involve declaring the trustee, the beneficiaries, and the person meant to manage any property that is left to young children. While this is not as advisable, some people may seek to meet with an attorney for just an initial overview of their goals.

No matter what, choosing to develop a living trust should involve a lawyer at some point to validate the legality of the document to avoid any future problems leaving property to loved ones. Seeking an attorney nearby? Check out the directory to find a listing of experience probate lawyers.

Categories: Probate