Living trusts–do I need one?

You might see advertisements for seminars discussing trusts, and why you should have one.  For many people, a trust is a critical part of their estate plan.  For others, a trust might be unnecessary.  Perhaps you just need to change the way your assets are held, as I explained in this blog post.

However, if anything in the list below applies to you, then I recommend a living trust for you:

  1. You have minor-aged children and do not want them to inherit everything at age 18.” Most of us remember back to when we were 18, and how we were not experienced or mature enough to manage a large sum of money.  A living trust can pay for your child’s education, and make distributions at certain ages, ensuring financial support along the rites of passage in life.
  2. You have real property in other states.”  If you own a home or parcel of land or other real property in other states, ancillary probate would need opened in each state where you own property after you die.  This would be expensive and cause delay with distributing your assets.  Putting your real property in a living trust would eliminate the need for probate, and for ancillary probate in other states.
  3. You want privacy.”  Dying with only a will means anyone can drive to the courthouse and look up your will, including probate filings such as an inventory of your assets and their value, and your tax returns.  These are all considered “public records.”  For business owners, private business information could be made public.  A living trust is a private document, and if privacy of your assets is a concern, then you need a trust.
  4. You want to disinherit or there might be potential will contests.”  With a will, next-of-kin are required to receive notice that a will has been filed with the court, and a probate might be opened.  A relative who discovers he or she will not inherit might decide to contest the will.  Because a living trust is private and there are no notice requirements to next of kin, will contests can be avoided.

If you want to see if a living trust is right for you, contact me at julie@juliemillslaw.com.

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