Sometimes clients want a Living Trust. That may be the right choice for you, and it may be the wrong choice. Despite what you may hear on television, or read in the newspaper ads, it is not the right choice for everyone. You will have to decide for yourself whether it is the right choice for you.
A Living Trust operates differently than a Last Will. The Living Trust document is created when the people are still living. Everything they own is transferred to the trust. The trust document directs the trustee (usually the same person, called the “Grantor”) to make payments to them from the assets that are invested (stock and bank accounts). When they die, the trust directs the next trustee to pay their final bills and to distribute the assets to their heirs. When we ask what the Grantor owned at the moment of death, the answer is “nothing”. And if you own nothing then you probably don’t have to go through probate court.
The result is that a Living Will offers more privacy and avoids Court involvement. If there are no troublesome issues, it can be sleek and clean. On the other hand, it won’t avoid many tasks that are common when someone dies. Creditors still have to be paid, there may be controversy, attorneys still need to help with legal issues, taxes must still be handled. A Living Trust won’t reduce estate taxes. If there is controversy, then the Court is going to be involved in settling the trouble.
It costs much more to set up a Living Trust than it does to create a Last Will and Testament. That is because all your property has to be transferred to the trust. It takes care of situations that arise during your life and when you die. So, it is twice as much work; expect to pay at least twice as much as you would for a Last Will.
Let us help you decide which plan is better for you. Each case is unique.