The reason why it is a good idea to consult with an estate planning attorney before you make any final decisions about the anatomy of your estate is the fact that they can lay all of your options on the table. There are a number of possible components that can be included in a well conceived, comprehensive estate plan, and there is really no reason why the layman would be aware of them and why they may be advantageous. One of these is the revocable living trust, and when you hear about the way that these trusts work you can see why they are an attractive option for many people.
When you state your wishes in a standard will your estate has to go through the legal process of probate. The probate or surrogate court will determine the validity of the will, and if it is contested or if there are any claims against the estate, these arguments will be heard during probate. An executor or personal representative will have to bring in a probate lawyer to help administer the estate, and accountants and appraisers are sometimes involved. All of this can get expensive, and there is the time factor to consider. Probate can take as long as four to nine months and even longer in some more complex cases.
Revocable living trusts enable your estate to sidestep the process of probate. It should first be noted that since the trust is “revocable” it can be altered or dismantled altogether by the creator of the trust, who is termed the grantor or settlor. The grantor funds the trust, names beneficiaries, and appoints a trustee or trustees to administer the trust. When a living trust is used as an estate planning vehicle, the grantor usually acts as trustee as well during his or her life. A successor trustee is named, and this individual or entity administers the trust after the death of the grantor. In this manner, the assets in the trust can be distributed to the named beneficiaries without going through the process of probate.
Revocable living trusts are the perfect solution for many people who are seeking ease of transference and efficient asset protection. If you would like some more information about living trusts, simply give us a call at (860) 548-1000 to arrange for a free consultation.