If you have a living trust, the administration would not be subject to probate. This is a costly and time-consuming legal process that is a public proceeding. Anyone that wants to access the records can find out how the assets were distributed, so there is a loss of privacy.
Another widely publicized benefit is the ability to protect a spendthrift beneficiary. The trust would become irrevocable after your passing, and principal would be protected from the beneficiary’s creditors.
In addition to these major advantages, there are several other appealing features that you should understand if you are still in the decision-making stage.
Revisions Are Possible
Some people are under the impression that the terms of a trust are set in stone, and they can never be changed. To some extent, this is true with an irrevocable trust, but you have total flexibility when you establish a revocable living trust.
You can change the trustee designation or alter the bequests that will be distributed to the heirs through the utilization of a trust amendment. For more extreme revisions, like a change in marital status, you can utilize a trust restatement.
We should also point out the fact that you can add property to the trust at any time, and on the other side of the coin, you can remove assets because you have total control of the resources.
A Married Couple Can Establish a Joint Living Trust
If you and your spouse own most of your valuable property together, a joint living trust can be the ideal estate planning solution. The two of you would act as co-trustees, and the surviving spouse would be the sole trustee after the death of one spouse.
Each individual could convey their own separate property into the trust as well, and you do not have to make your spouse the beneficiary of the property. Plus, a surviving spouse would not be able to change the terms that apply to their spouse’s separate property.
You Can Account for Personally Held Assets
It is easy to account for assets that may be in your possession after your passing that you never conveyed into the trust. You simply include a pour-over will in your overall estate plan, and the trust will absorb these assets after you are gone.
The court would be involved to approve the transfer, but it is a straightforward, open and shut situation that can be resolved relatively quickly.
Unfortunately, incapacity looms large for elders. Alzheimer’s disease strikes over 30 percent of people that are 85 and older, and there are other causes of dementia.
In addition to cognitive difficulties, some people cannot handle their finances when they are battling serious medical conditions.
When you have a living trust, you can account for this possibility. You can name a disability trustee in the trust declaration, and this individual or entity would step into the role if it ever becomes necessary.
Legal Expenses Are Affordable
There is a widely embraced myth about the legal fees that must be paid if you want to utilize a living trust as the centerpiece of your estate plan. Yes, there will be an outlay involved, but our prospective clients are usually pleasantly surprised when they learn about our rates.
When you work with an attorney to create a professionally prepared estate plan, you are making an investment that will yield dividends in the long run.
Schedule a Consultation Today!
Today is the day for action if you have been going through life without an estate plan. A living trust may be the right choice for you, but there are other possibilities. We can learn about your position and make recommendations so you can make fully informed choices.
You can schedule a consultation at our Essex Junction, Vermont estate planning office if you call us at 802-879-7133. If you would rather reach out electronically, fill out our contact form and we will get back in touch with you promptly.