The creation of a living trust has become a popular estate planning tool. While you may be thinking about creating a living trust in order to help avoid probate taxes and to protect the legacy you plan to leave behind for loved ones, you may not be fully aware of all of the ways a living trust can benefit you.
It is important to realize every estate plan is unique, and your reasons for creating a living trust may be different than those of someone else’s. While a living trust is a good option for most people, it also may not be the best estate planning tool in every situation.
An Essex Junction estate planning lawyer at Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC can provide you with the guidance you need on trusts, wills, and other methods of protecting your assets and planning for your future. Give us a call to learn more.
Six Key Reasons Creating a Living Trust May be Right For You
A living trust may be an ideal estate planning tool if:
- You want to protect property that heirs will inherit. If you have children under 18, they do not have the legal authority to manage money and you don’t want to leave it to them directly. If you have older children or other loved ones who you worry may not be responsible with the money you leave them, you may also not want to provide them with a lump sum of cash. A living trust can protect your money and assets from creditors, divorce, bad spending decisions, and other issues that your beneficiaries may have. A trustee manages the money until certain conditions are met and the property is transferred to the beneficiary.
- You want to reduce estate taxes or eliminate them altogether. Estate taxes can be triggered when an estate exceeds a certain value. The level at which taxes are triggered adjusts every year. Estate taxes can take a big chunk out of an inheritance, leaving your loved ones with less than they should receive. These taxes are paid from the estate, but sometimes coming up with the cash to pay them requires liquidation of land or business assets. This is especially a risk when a family farm or family business passes after death. Estate taxes can be avoided or significantly reduced, however, if property is transferred to a living trust rather than to heirs through probate.
- You want to allow your heirs to avoid the probate process. Probate is time consuming and stressful, which is difficult to deal with after a loved one has died. When assets are left to heirs in a will, probate is necessary. If a trust is used to facilitate the transfer of assets instead of the use of a will, the probate process can be avoided or significant assets can at least transfer outside of probate. This means your heirs don’t have to wait as long for an inheritance and, if you do your estate planning right, they won’t have to go to court at all.
- You want to ensure property can be managed if you become incapacitated. When you have a revocable living trust that owns your assets, a successor trustee can be named to take over trust management if you resign or become incapacitated. There is no interruption in the property being managed if you suffer a serious illness or injury and suddenly become unable to handle the management of the assets on your own.
- You want to make sure no will contest occurs upon your death. If you leave money to loved ones in a will, you leave yourself and your heirs open to the possibility that a disagreement will arise and the will may be contested. This could result in your wishes being invalidated, and in an expensive legal battle.
- You want to protect your privacy and the privacy of your heirs. The probate process can become public record. With trusts, all property transfers are managed privately.
These are six of the top reasons why many people create living trusts. An experienced estate planning lawyer can help you to determine if you should create a living trust either for these reasons or because a trust could otherwise benefit you in your particular situation.
Contact an Essex Junction Living Trust Lawyer For Help
If you want to make sure a living trust is your best option or if you need assistance with the process of creating a living trust, call Unsworth LaPlante, PLLC today to speak with an Essex Junction estate planning lawyer who has the skills and experience you need. Contact 902-879-0408 or complete our convenient online contact form to learn how you can get help planning to use trusts to secure your legacy and protect your heirs.