Although many people associate estate planning with the creation of a will, there are advantages to putting your assets into a living trust. Living trusts are extremely valuable for people with large estates, but have benefits that can be valuable for estates of all sizes.
A Trust Can Help Your Heirs Avoid Probate
The major advantage of a living trust is to eliminate the need for probate. In a simple sense, a trust can be thought of as an “account” which contains your assets, while a will is a plan for how your assets should be distributed. Upon your death, the assets in your trust are quickly transferred to you designated beneficiaries. A will, by contrast, must be handled through the probate court. In most cases it will be months or years before they can utilize the assets. A living trust can also eliminate a separate probate process for out-of-state assets. By eliminating probate in multiple states, you can save a tremendous amount of your assets for your heirs.
Your Heirs Can Manage Your Estate If You Are Incapacitated
Another major benefit of a living trust is that it will simplify the management of your assets in the event that you fall ill or become incapacitated. Rather than forcing your heirs or legal agents to pursue power-of-attorney over your estate, a living trust can simply transfer to the control of your appointed successor or successors. Revocable trusts also give you the ability to regain control over your estate when you recover from your incapacitating condition.
A Living Trust Can Protect Your Privacy
In addition to the length and expense of the process, a common criticism with the probate system is its failure to provide privacy. When your estate goes to probate, regardless of whether or not you have a will, all transactions will become public record. With a living trust, however, all assets will be distributed privately.
Deciding whether to add a living trust to your estate? Call our experienced Boulder estate planning attorneys today at (303) 569-4639.