What is a Living Trust?
A living trust, also called an “inter vivos” trust, is an estate planning tool that allows you to keep assets in a protected entity during your lifetime and pass them on to beneficiaries after your death. When referring to a living trust, most people mean a revocable living trust, which can be amended or revoked at any time by the trustor, as long as the trustor is still alive and competent.
During your lifetime, you can serve as the trustee, maintaining full control of the assets and altering the trust as desired. In the event of your incapacity or death, the trust assets will be distributed to your chosen beneficiaries by the person you have designated as your successor trustee.
Living trusts are not necessary for everyone, but they can be beneficial for many people. Setting up a trust is a personal decision based on your unique circumstances and goals. It depends on the size and complexity of your assets and your objectives for distributing your wealth. A qualified Tacoma living trust attorney can help you determine whether a revocable living trust is right for your estate.
What are the Advantages of a Living Trust?
When it comes to estate planning, a living trust can offer many benefits to both you and your loved ones. It offers control that cannot be obtained through other estate planning instruments. To enjoy these benefits, you’ll need to ensure the right legal procedure is followed when creating the trust.
Before setting up a trust, it is crucial to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable Tacoma living trust attorney to review the advantages of trusts, and to determine if a trust is right for you and your estate planning needs. Here are a few of the main benefits a living trust can offer.
Probate is a court-supervised process through which your assets are distributed. Unfortunately, probate can be an expensive and lengthy process, depending on the complexity of the estate. Assets placed in a living trust avoid probate and are passed down directly to the beneficiaries.
Avoiding probate makes the inheritance process much simpler and faster for all parties. It can also prevent the costs of probate from being taken from your estate, which could reduce the assets your beneficiaries receive.
Protect Your Privacy
If you have a will when you die, the will goes through the probate process and is made public. This means people outside of your family can learn the details of your estate. On the other hand, with a revocable living trust, the terms of your trust, assets, and beneficiaries remain completely private. Unlike probate of a will, a revocable trust is administered privately with no court involvement unless a challenge is raised.
Provide for You During Incapacity
Having a living trust can be extremely useful if you someday become incapable, because of physical or mental illness, of taking care of your financial affairs. In the event of your incapacitation, your successor trustee can take charge, and that trustee has a fiduciary responsibility to manage your trust assets. A properly executed living trust can take care of you if you become unable to care for yourself. In this way, you can avoid a court-appointed conservatorship or guardianship for your affairs.
Easy to Create and Change
A living trust allows you to make changes or amendments to the trust document while you are still alive, at your discretion. For most simple estates, a living trust has fewer legal formalities than a will, making it easier to create and change. It is easy to change trust beneficiaries or to designate another person as a successor trustee. The same is true for transferring property into and out of the trust during your lifetime.
Greater Control Over Your Assets
When you set up a trust, you have the flexibility to design a way of distributing your property that suits your specific situation. A living trust gives you control over the manner and timing of payments. By specifying the terms of your trust, you can decide who receives your assets and when they will receive them after you die. You also have the freedom to make incremental distributions to beneficiaries, so they do not receive a bulk distribution at one time.
A living trust can be used to protect vulnerable beneficiaries including minor children or an incapacitated loved one. Creating trust allows these individuals to benefit from the assets without giving them control.
Revocable living trusts allow grantors to pool assets for productive and efficient management. You can increase the value of the trust property, spare yourself the hassle of having to manage it, and still retain ultimate control.
Hold Property from the Other States
If you own property in other states, moving it into a revocable living trust can avoid certain probate issues. A living trust will protect your named beneficiary from needing to administer out-of-state probate procedures.
Call Our Experienced Living Trust Lawyer in Washington State Now!
Estate planning isn’t always simple. While many individuals simply draft a last will and testament, estate planning can actually be a lot more multi-faceted. In addition to wills, some people set up living trusts to transfer their wealth to the next generation. A trust is an excellent tool for estate planning. However, the process of establishing a trust can be extremely complex.
Whether you are interested in setting up a trust for financial purposes or you simply want to ensure that your family is well-provided for after you are gone, it is highly advisable to work with our seasoned Tacoma living trust lawyer at Jones Legacy Law. We take the time to determine what you have and how it can most effectively be allocated after your passing.
Our estate planning law firm has been helping individuals and families in Tacoma and its surrounding areas with their estate planning needs. To learn more about how a living trust might fit into your estate plan, schedule a free initial consultation with our law office today.