What Are The Benefits Of A Living Trust?

Daren Brown
By Daren Brown | March 22, 2019
You’re likely aware that you should have an estate plan of some sort that distributes your assets to beneficiaries upon your passing, but your may not know whether a will or some other legal document is the best option. A living trust may be a consideration for you, depending on your assets and lifestyle. It’s worth it to take a look at this type of arrangement in detail.

What Is A Living Trust?

A living trust, also known as a revocable trust, is a document whereby you designate the trust as owner of your assets. You handle the trust during your lifetime, including adding to the trust when you purchase new real or personal property.

Likewise, you can sell trust assets as you see fit. When you die, the trust assets are distributed to beneficiaries as per the trust provisions. Your successor trustee gains control over the trust at this point, handling the disbursements as designated by the document. The living trust differs from a will, in which nothing takes effect until you die. There are several advantages to an estate plan that includes a living trust, and your circumstances may warrant this type of arrangement over a will.

How Can A Living Trust Help Avoid Probate Upon Your Death?

A validly executed living trust can help you avoid probate when you pass away, contrary to a will, which must go through the probate process in order to distribute your assets. Because you designate beneficiaries through a living trust, your assets can be disseminated by your appointed successor trustee without court involvement. This ensures a faster distribution of your assets, payment of your debts and estate wind down.

Can A Living Trust Benefit You During Your Lifetime?

Another advantage of a living trust is that your appointed trustee can also take over management of trust assets if you become incapacitated. A will only takes effect upon your death, so there’s no one to handle your property if you’re terminally ill, in a coma, or otherwise unable to manage your affairs.

Your trustee, on the other hand, can immediately step into your shoes to pay bills, and buy or sell assets as necessary. It's not necessary to head to court and go through the process required to have someone appointed to act on your behalf, saving both time and money for you and your loved ones.

Do You Need An Attorney To Draft Your Living Trust?

It’s important that you partner with an attorney experienced in complex estate planning who can go over your options and decide whether a living trust is right for you. Planning for the future is important, and the time is now to start considering asset allocation and estate planning.

The Amarillo law firm Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C. has expertise in wills and estate planning, and can discuss the advantages of different asset structures. Please contact our office to arrange a consultation with a knowledgeable Amarillo estate-planning lawyer who can answer your questions and provide additional details on living trusts.
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Topics: Estate Planning