Many people believe that estate planning only involves creating a Will to ensure your wishes are carried out upon your passing. Although a Will is an essential part of the process, there are many other things to consider when you are thinking about the legacy you want to leave behind. There are different types of trusts that can protect your assets and make sure your loved ones are taken care of after you’re gone. A Living Trust is among the most common.
What is a Living Trust?
A Living Trust is a legal document that places your assets in trust for your benefit during your lifetime, and spells out how you’d like these assets to be distributed upon your death. It can include bank accounts, investments, real estate, vehicles and valuable personal property. The most common type is a Revocable Living Trust, which may be changed or canceled at any time before your death.
How does a Living Trust work?
You name yourself as the trustee and remain in complete control of your assets, and may move them in and out of the trust as you wish. You also appoint a ‘successor trustee’ who will act as your representative upon your passing and transfer assets to your beneficiaries according to your wishes.
Your successor trustee is permitted to act on your behalf if you become incapacitated. He or she can handle financial issues such as managing property, businesses and paying bills. Such details are outlined in a living trust and can be carried out without involvement by the courts. Experienced living trusts lawyers can create a document that covers all legal bases and help your loved ones avoid costly and inconvenient court proceedings.
Why do I need a living trust?
In most states, a Will must go through probate, which can be a long and arduous legal process. The probate process involves establishing the value of your estate, settling any debts, paying taxes and transferring assets to your beneficiaries. Probate adds extra expenses to your estate and delays the distribution of your assets. It can take nine months to two years for probate to be completed. Our Chester County lawyers and Delaware County lawyers are well-versed in drafting wills and trusts, but if your estate must go through the probate process, our seasoned attorneys can provide your family with the legal support they need.
Another advantage of a Living Trust is privacy. A Will is a public document, which means that anyone can scrutinize or contest it, including creditors. Probate also allows the public to see the details of your estate. A living trust is private, more difficult to challenge, and can help to protect your assets from creditors. A living trust is particularly valuable if you have a large amount of assets, and can keep family matters from becoming complicated after you’re gone.
Knowing that the process of settling your estate will be easier for your beneficiaries can give you peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out appropriately. Our skilled legal team provides estate planning services tailored to fit your individual needs. To learn more about the services we offer, contact Carosella & Associates today!