As the holidays approach, you might be thinking about family more. You want to take care of your loved ones, and while it’s a hard subject to discuss, you need to make sure everything is prepared when something happens to you. The holidays are a good time to put your affairs in order and make sure your estate is in place so that when that time comes, your family can get through the process as easily as possible. If you know anything about probate, you probably know how time-consuming and expensive it is. A revocable living trust creates the opportunity to avoid probate and is an amazing estate planning tool.
What Is A Revocable Living Trust?
So, what is a revocable living trust? A trust is an arrangement with a third party to hold assets that will eventually be passed to a beneficiary. A revocable living trust means that the stipulations of the trust can be changed while the trustor is living and capable, as their situation evolves.
Why Set Up A Living Trust?
In estate planning, setting up a living trust is recommended for a common reason – to avoid probate. Probate is the lengthy court process in which the passing of assets are determined by a judge. It can take months to several years depending on the case.
Many people don’t even have wills, let alone trusts. Wills are important to putting your affairs in order, but they cannot avoid probate. For assets to pass through a will, you must die first – unlike a living trust – and all assets must go through probate whether you have a will or not. Living trusts are usually able to bypass the probate process altogether, saving your loved ones time and money.
If you live in San Jose or the greater Bay area, set up a free consultation with our estate planning attorneys to learn about living trusts.
How To Set Up A Revocable Trust?
There are a few steps that go into setting up a living trust. You must set up the trust while you are alive. You will need to work with an attorney to figure out the trust’s specifications such as who assets will pass to and how they must pass.
For example, you can create a joint living trust for yourself and your spouse. If one spouse dies, the assets will pass to the living spouse, and after their death, the assets will pass to whomever you name beneficiary next in line. You can stipulate that the assets or property only pass under certain conditions such as if your daughter graduates college. This allows you to control and protect your assets, even after your death.
After you’ve worked with an estate planning attorney to put together a trust, you’ll have to fund the trust. This requires you to place property and assets in the name of the trust. Instead of the property being under the name “John Smith,” it will be titled “John Smith, Trustee of the John Smith Trust.” Forgetting to fund your trust can result in added expenses upon your death and a lengthy process to distribute assets in probate.
Living trusts aren’t right for every situation however, so you should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney before setting one up.
Live in San Jose or close by? Contact Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri to find out if a revocable living trust is right for you.