If you look at a simple will next to a revocable living trust, you will see that there is really no comparison. A living trust is more effective on a number of different levels, and we will provide an overview before we focus on the importance of legal counsel.
Living Trust Benefits
When a will is utilized as an asset transfer vehicle, an executor is named in the document to act as the hands-on administrator. After the passing of the testator, the will is admitted to probate, and the court provides supervision during the administration process.
This process will take close to a year in many instances, and the inheritors have to play a waiting game, because no bequests will be distributed during this interim. Probate expenses eat away at the value of the estate before it is transferred to the heirs, and this is another negative.
Do you want anyone that is interested to know how you decided to pass along your assets? Most people would think this is an absurd question, but in fact, probate records are available to the general public.
If you utilize a living trust instead of a simple will, the assets would be distributed to the beneficiaries outside of probate, so these negatives would never enter the picture.
Living Trust Administration
The fact that the administration of the estate would not be subject to probate is beneficial in a general sense, and there is an added benefit from an efficiency standpoint.
An executor must identify and inventory assets that will comprise the estate when a will is used, and this can be easier said than done. Property that is held by a trust is typically listed on a convenient schedule, so the identification process is simplified.
There is even a way to account for assets that were never conveyed into the trust. You can simply include a pour over will that would allow the trust to absorb these resources during the administration phase.
You would act as the trustee while you are alive and well, so you would lose no control of the assets that you convey into your living trust. In the trust declaration, you would name a successor trustee to assume the role after your death.
If you choose to do so, you can give the successor trustee the ability to act as the trustee in the event of your incapacity, or you can name someone else to act as a disability trustee.
When you are establishing the terms, you can dictate the way the assets will be distributed to the beneficiaries. If you want to make sure that they do not burn through their inheritances too quickly, you can instruct the trustee to provide incremental distributions over time.
With regard to the trustee selection, you can name someone that you know, and a beneficiary can actually serve as the trustee. Another option would be the utilization of a professional fiduciary like the trust department of a bank or a trust company.
It is perfectly okay to designate a nonprofessional to act as the trustee of your living trust if this is your choice. This being stated, they may not know exactly how to proceed if they do not have any trust administration experience.
Under these circumstances, we can be engaged to provide the necessary assistance after you pass away. In fact, if we help you establish the trust initially, we will be uniquely qualified to advise the trustee while they are administering the trust.
Attend a Free Seminar!
We are going to be holding some seminars over the coming weeks and months, and we get great feedback from people that attend our events. There is no charge, and they are held at convenient locations, so this is a great way to invest some spare time.
You can see dates if you visit our seminar schedule page, and when you identify the one that works for you, follow the instructions to register so we can reserve your spot.
Need Help Now?
If you have learned enough to know that it is time for you to work with a Glastonbury, Connecticut estate planning lawyer to put a plan in place, we are here to help. You can send us a message to request a consultation appointment, and we can be reached by phone at 860-548-1000.
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