Wills and trusts are estate planning documents used to pass your wealth and property to loved ones upon your death. When creating your plan consider that trusts come with distinct advantages over wills.
Four reasons to add a trust to your estate plan are:
1. Avoid Probate
A primary advantage a living trust has over a will is that a trust does not require probate, the court process through which assets in your will are
distributed to your heirs.
During probate, the court oversees your will’s administration, ensuring your property is distributed according to your wishes and handling disputes. Probate proceedings can drag out for years and necessitate legal representation, resulting in costly legal fees.
Probate is public. In probate your will becomes public record, meaning anyone can see the contents of your estate, beneficiaries’ names, and bequest details.
3. Plan for incapacity
A will governs the distribution of your assets at death, offering zero protection if you are unable to make decisions about your own medical, financial and legal needs. Incapacitation with only a will in place means your family must petition the court to appoint a conservator or guardian to handle your affairs.
Conservatorship/guardianship proceedings can be costly, time consuming and emotional. The court could appoint a family member you’d never want making critical decisions on your behalf. The court might even select a professional conservator or guardian, putting a total stranger in control of just about every aspect of your life.
With a living trust you include provisions that appoint someone of your own choosing to handle your assets if you’re unable to. Combined with a well-drafted medical power of attorney and healthcare directives, a trust can avoid court and conflict in the event of your incapacity.
4. Enhanced control over asset distribution
Another advantage of a trust over a will is the level of control offered when distributing assets to heirs. With a trust, you specify when and how your heirs will receive your assets after your death.
For example, you could stipulate in the trust’s terms that assets can only be distributed upon certain life events, such as completion of college or purchase of a home. Or you might spread out distribution of assets over your beneficiaries’ lifetimes, releasing a percentage of the assets at different ages or life stages.
Thus, you prevent your beneficiaries from blowing through their inheritance, and offer incentives for them to demonstrate responsible behavior. Plus, assets held in trust are protected from beneficiaries’ creditors, lawsuits and divorce, another advantage over wills.
An informed decision
The best way for you to determine whether your estate plan should include a living trust is to meet with R. DeDe Soto of the Soto Law Group for a Planning Session. We’ll take you through an analysis of your personal assets, your family dynamics, what’s most important to you, and what will happen for your loved ones when you become incapacitated or die. We will empower you to feel 100% confident that the right combination of planning solutions are in place for your family’s unique circumstances. Schedule your appointment
today to get started.
www.thesotolawgroup.com | Phone: 760-610-0519