Should I Set Up a Living Trust?
A living trust can be a vital part of creating an estate plan. You could reap various benefits by setting up a valid and enforceable living trust. It can protect not only your assets but your family as well.
A living trust is a legal document you can establish to protect your assets during your lifetime. Your appointed trustee has the authority to manage any property and assets you move into the trust and eventually transfer them to your named beneficiaries as outlined in the document upon your death or incapacitation.
Everyone knows they should create a last will and testament. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand how beneficial a living trust can be.
If you’re considering your options during estate planning, you should review the main reasons below for why you should create a living trust.
You’re Unable to Make Decisions for Yourself
Creating a living trust protects any assets you transfer into the trust during your lifetime so your loved ones can have access to them if you become incapacitated. It’s a good idea to set up a living trust if you have a terminal illness, cognitive disease, or are older.
If something happens to you and you can’t speak for yourself, the trustee you choose can manage your trust on your behalf.
Even if you’re young and healthy, creating a living trust is an excellent idea in case you’re involved in a traumatic accident, such as a car crash, and end up in a coma. You won’t be able to inform your family of your wishes or how to pay for your medical bills and other expenses. However, granting your trustee access to the trust allows them to manage your funds without the need to go to court.
You’re Responsible for the Care of Minor Children
If you want to ensure your child’s future, you can hold specific property in your living trust to have transferred to them when they reach the age you designate.
Some people decide 18 years old is the right age to give their kids access to their assets. However, others might think that’s too young for someone to be responsible for managing their own finances and choose to transfer assets out of the living trust and to the children once they reach 25 or even 30 years old.
When you establish a living trust, you can be the trustee yourself and appoint a successor trustee in case something happens to you, or you can decide who you want to be the trustee. The trustee manages the assets held in trust until they can transfer them to your children based on the directions you left behind.
You can also include specific terms regarding which assets your children can access and at what ages. For example, you can create a payment plan for your kids to receive a predetermined amount of money every month starting at the age you decide. That way, they can’t spend the funds frivolously all at once.
Your Beneficiaries Won’t Have to Go Through Probate
Probate can be a complicated and time-consuming process. It involves a probate judge validating a deceased’s person’s estate and allowing the beneficiaries to receive the assets outlined in the legal document. Unfortunately, that means it could take weeks or even months before your heirs can use the funds and additional property left to them in your estate plan.
With a living trust, your beneficiaries can avoid probate and gain immediate access to your assets upon your death, incapacitation, or another specified event without going to court for authorization first.
Keep Your Private Matters Private
If your surviving relatives have to go through probate to receive your assets, your estate becomes a matter of public record. Anyone can look up the information online, preventing your estate from remaining private.
If you set up a living trust, your family avoids the probate process and can manage your assets privately. That means no one will have the ability to search for the assets you owned when you died and your named beneficiaries that took ownership of them after completing probate.
Contact an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
You don’t want your loved ones to struggle if something happens to you. You want to ensure they’re taken care of if you’re no longer able to care for them whether you pass away or become incapacitated. Creating a solid estate plan can protect your property and family and give you peace of mind knowing your heirs will receive the assets you left for them without any obstacles getting in their way.
If you’re thinking about creating a living trust, you should speak with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney from Staubus and Randall. We can review your assets to determine whether a living trust could be beneficial for you. Call us today at 214-691-3411.