If you would like to plan to keep your affairs out of the court system, the living trust is the estate plan for you. When you create a living trust, you take the government and court system out of your plan, and write your own, comprehensive incapacity and after death "rule book." Living trusts can prevent a guardianship, conservatorship, and after-death probate proceeding. Most of our client prefer to keep their affairs private, and not have their family and themselves subject to the court system and default state laws.
A revocable living trust is a trust established during your lifetime, which you can change or revoke at any time. You will transfer substantially all of your assets to the trust during your lifetime. What you transfer into the trust will be determined by what you are trying to achieve. The living trust is used as the mechanism to manage your property before and after your death, as well as state how those assets, and the income earned by the trust, should be distributed after your death. If you should become incapacitated or disabled, the trust is there to manage your financial affairs. Reasons why you might want to engage in trust based planning include:
- If privacy is important to you, a trust can avoid the probate process.
- If you own property in more than one state, a trust can eliminate the need for probate proceedings in the state where the property is located.
- You want to protect your beneficiaries from loss of their inheritance from divorce, creditors, and predators.
- You want to have a mechanism in place to manage your affairs during any periods of disability/incapacity.
- You want to make it harder for someone to contest how your property is to be distributed upon your death.