Revocable living trusts are very widely utilized among people who understand some of the intricacies of estate planning. A living trust can be a better choice than a last will under many circumstances, because there is more flexibility, and there is more efficiency in the long run.
If you were to establish a living trust, you would be called the grantor of the trust. The trustee would be the trust administrator. While you are alive, you could act as the trustee of your living trust, so you would maintain total control of the assets. You could add or remove resources from the trust at your will, and you could alter the beneficiary designations if you choose to do so.
Since you would be creating the trust to serve as an estate planning vehicle, you have to account for the things that will take place after you pass away. You name a successor trustee in the trust declaration to handle the estate administration tasks after you are gone.
One of the benefits that a living trust would provide over a last will is the avoidance of probate. This is a legal process, and inheritors can not receive their inheritances when a will is used until the estate has been probated by the court. This can take close to a year or more in routine cases, and there are some cases that take considerably longer.
You can also choose to direct the successor trustee to stretch out the distributions from the trust over months or years. With a will, you would be allowing for lump sum inheritance distributions, and this may be a cause of concern for you.
Choice of Successor Trustee
When you think about a trustee, at first, you may scan your mind for trusted family members or associates who may be a good choice. You can go this route if you choose to do so, but many people find that a corporate trustee such as a trust company or the trust department of a bank would be preferable.
There are many benefits that a corporate trustee would provide. First of all, the corporate trustee is going to be a certified, skilled, and experienced professional. Even if you know someone who has a good bit of business savvy, managing a trust is a different beast.
Plus, the corporate trustee is going to have a full understanding of all government rules and regulations, so you could be certain that everything would be done in accordance with the law.
Impartiality is another major advantage. The corporate trustee is not going to favor one beneficiary over another, so you can be certain that everyone is treated equitably.
If a family member is the trustee, this individual could be forced to make difficult decisions that may not sit well with interested parties. This would not enter the equation if you utilize a corporate trustee instead of a family member or a friend of the family.
There are in-house resources available to a corporate trustee, including legal and accounting resources. This can reduce the overall costs, because an independent trustee may have to retain professional services from time to time.
Longevity and continuity are factors as well. You never know how long a person is going to live, but you know that a long-standing corporation is going to remain in existence for the long haul.
These are a number of advantages that you would gain if you utilize a corporate trustee, but there are other benefits. We are not saying that this is the only way to go, but when you examine the facts, a corporate trustee would be a good choice for many families.
Contact Our Firm
If you have always thought that you should use a last will to state your final wishes, you may want to take pause and find out all of the benefits that you could receive if you use a living trust. Some people think that it is very expensive to establish a trust, but there are a number of expenses that typically arise if you use a will as it is going through probate, so the matter is not cut and dried.
Our firm would be glad to help if you would like to get some direct information from a licensed estate planning attorney. We genuinely value our relationships with our clients, and we tend to build bonds that last for years.
Give us a call at 239-225-7911 or send us a message through our contact page to schedule a consultation.