Life is full of unexpected circumstances, some of which may prove to be completely life-altering. There are many arguments for why creating an estate plan before you need one could be beneficial to you and your family. Drafting an estate plan when you’re not in a time of crisis can give you the time necessary to make reasonable decisions for yourself and your family’s finances. One useful tool for this process is trust formation.
Understanding living trusts
Living trusts (also called revocable trusts) are legal structures that are formed and managed while the grantor is still alive. Living trusts provide tangible advantages to storing a person’s assets in a way that offers certain estate benefits:
- More control: Living trusts allow the grantor to maintain control over the trust while they’re alive. A grantor of a trust can also manage the trust by naming themselves the trustee. If life circumstances change while they are in control of the trust, they can make adjustments, name or remove beneficiaries, and make the changes that best suit their situation.
- Avoiding probate: In the event of your death, the assets you placed in a living trust will be available for distribution to your family members and beneficiaries without having to enter the probate process. For those beneficiaries that could use the benefit of an inheritance immediately, a living trust will, in most cases, be much more expedient than probate.
- Privacy issues: Circumventing probate provides the advantage of keeping your assets from the public record of probate. This added privacy is highly desirable for those families not wanting their finances generally available in the aftermath of a loved one’s death.
Finding estate planning guidance
If you’re considering making an estate plan, it could help to contact an attorney with experience in living trusts and the intricacies of a safe estate plan.