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Probate is the court-supervised process of distributing a dead person’s assets after they die. However, one frustrating downside is that it can take a long time.

A tool you may use during estate planning is a living trust. This trust can help you bypass this lengthy process, providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

Starting the preparations while alive

A living trust is a legal document that allows you to transfer ownership of your assets into the trust during your lifetime. You retain control of the assets as the trustee, but you also name a successor trustee to manage the trust upon your incapacity or death. Since the trust holds the assets, it is not subject to probate after your death.

Speeding up the process and avoiding fees

By avoiding probate, your beneficiaries can get your assets faster and with less expense. Probate fees, court costs and attorney fees can eat into the value of your estate, reducing the amount that ultimately passes to your loved ones.

Additionally, probate proceedings are a matter of public record. Avoiding probate can help maintain your privacy and the privacy of your beneficiaries.

Protecting your assets

Setting up a living trust involves drafting a trust document and transferring ownership of your assets into the trust. You will need to carefully consider which assets to include in the trust and designate beneficiaries for those assets. Once you establish the trust, it is important to periodically review and update it to reflect any changes in your circumstances or wishes.

Making a living trust may not occur to you at first when planning for the future. However, by taking this step, you can ensure that your loved ones do not have to put up with the stress of probate.