Estate planning tends to be a complicated topic that leave many people with more questions than answers. Do I need a trust? Is a will necessary? What exactly is a power of attorney? Many times we are afraid to ask these questions because they center on the topic of our own death. However, estate planning is one of the most important steps a person can take to ensure that the assets and property they have worked a lifetime to earn gets passed onto future generations.
Why Choose a Living Trust?
One of the first steps in the estate planning process is to establish a trust which controls the disposition of your assets rather than a will. The documents are similar as both determine how your affairs, assets and property should be handled and distributed after you pass away. However, the greatest benefit of a living trust over a will is the fact that a trust avoids the probate process, while a will does not. Letting the courts decide how your assets are distributed will turn into a lengthy process and extremely costly procedure that can take eight to twelve months in court before your family can inherit anything. With a living trust, the process ends up being significantly quicker and only takes weeks to resolve. If you own property in other states, a living trust will be especially advantageous as it can help your family avoid multiple probate situations.
Probate can be quite expensive, in addition to being lengthy, and the administration process is often estimated to cost between 3 and 10 percent of the estate’s total value. Creating a living trust will help you opt-out of the probate court system and avoid expensive (and unnecessary) court costs and legal fees. Living trusts are easy to set up, maintain, or even cancel, and are typically harder to contest in court than a will (a civil lawsuit is required).