Many people choose wills to express their final wishes and distribute what they own after their death. But a living trust set up by an estate planning lawyer can provide many of the same benefits, and may provide additional ones.
A Living Trust Can Allow Your Estate to Avoid Probate
Everyone has seen a movie where a will is dramatically read in an attorney’s office. In real life it seldom resembles this scene. When a person dies, a probate court must settle their estate. A will makes this process much easier, as it names a person to take charge of this process on behalf of the estate, and expresses the wishes of the deceased. But the process must go on, and it can take quite a bit of time. Even when no one contests any provision of the will, the court must work through a process to ensure that the estate pays all debts and settles all claims. Only then can the rightful heirs receive the remaining assets.
By contrast, a living trust allows you to name trustees, who will typically be your heirs. They will continue managing your affairs without going through probate. This can speed the process and provide more flexibility.
A Living Trust Can Be Effective If You Are Incapacitated
A will only provides for your estate after your death. Everyone understands that one day they will pass away. But sometimes we forget that becoming mentally or physically unable to manage our own affairs is a possibility. A living trust can provide for your successor to manage your finances should this happen. When you give trustees power of attorney, they will be able to make decisions on your behalf, including financial, healthcare, and other areas. An estate planning lawyer can guide you through the process of setting up trustees.
A Living Trust Can Keep Your Information From Becoming Public
As a court document, a will becomes a public record. You may have seen extensive media discussion of what celebrities and prominent people gave people upon their death. This information was made public because it was part of their will. If you have concerns about some of your heirs, family members who are not heirs, or members of the public knowing what you gave to whom upon your death, a living trust can minimize the chance that they will find out.
You should talk to a living trust lawyer in Sacramento, CA as soon as possible. They can ensure that you have set up a living trust appropriately for your protection while you are living, and maximize the benefits for your family after you are gone.
Thanks to Yee Law Group for their insight into estate planning and the benefits of living trusts.