When you look into the facts as you get serious about your estate planning efforts, you will immediately see why you may want to consider a living trust as an alternative to a last will as your primary vehicle of asset transfer. These trusts are very popular for a number of different reasons.
One benefit that you would gain if you use a living trust is the ability to control the way that the assets are managed and distributed after you are gone.
For example, you could engage a corporate trustee like a trust company or the trust section of a bank. If you go this route, you will have a professional fiduciary managing the assets, and you can be sure that the trustee would follow your instructions in an unemotional matter.
You would not have to allow for lump-sum distributions. The trustee could be instructed to distribute a certain amount to the beneficiaries each month, or you could include other stipulations.
Assets in a living trust can be distributed to the beneficiaries free of the probate process. A will would be admitted to probate, and this process is time-consuming, and it is often expensive. This is another major advantage.
The privacy factor also enters the picture. Probate records can be accessed by the general public, so if you use a will to transfer your personally held property, anyone who is interested could find out the details. This can potentially cause difficulties among family members and associates.
When property is transferred through the terms of a living trust, the public has no access to the details.
If you accidentally failed to convey certain property into your living trust, it would become probate property, and it would be subject to the full probate process. However, there is a strategy that is typically implemented to address this type of situation.
When you create your living trust, you can also add a pour-over will. This type of will would allow the property that was in your direct personal possession to pour over into the living trust after you pass away.
Build on Your Knowledge
When you plan your estate, you are making some very profound decisions. After all, you are facilitating the transfer of everything that you have accumulated throughout your life to the people that you love the most.
Clearly, you have to act in a fully informed manner when you are taking this enormous step. To this end, we encourage you to attend one of our free estate planning workshops. There are a number of dates coming up in January, and you will learn a great deal if you attend one of these information sessions.
Click the following link to see the complete schedule and registration information: Fort Myers FL Estate Planning Workshops.