What is a Living Trust?
The number one reason to consider a living trust is to avoid the hassle and financial strain of probate court. Second, to this is the privacy it affords families in protecting their assets. Most assume having a will is the only legal tool needed in end-of-life planning, though all wills must go through the probate process.
A living trust is a private fiduciary arrangement that protects your privacy and assets. If you become incapacitated and cannot speak for yourself, your appointed trustee can make decisions on your behalf and manage and preserve your funds according to your wishes.
Living trusts keep your assets in the family—and therefore, preserve your legacy—and reduce taxes, among other benefits. Trusts are slightly more expensive to start and maintain than a will, though the benefits far outweigh any drawbacks from a legal perspective.
Fuller Law Practice is experienced in estate planning strategies, from wills to trusts to guardianship agreements and power of attorney. Everything you need for peace of mind starts with an easy, complimentary consultation with our team.
What is an Irrevocable Trust?
An irrevocable trust is another type of trust. It is similar to a living trust, though not as flexible as once you open it, you cannot change or end the trust—even if life events change or you change your mind. A grantor might choose this type of trust to put specific assets into it as it will limit estate taxes and protect property, money, and other belongings from creditors.
Any asset such as real estate, life insurance policies, savings bonds, cash, non-qualified annuities, and retirement plans can go into an irrevocable trust. Once you pass away, your living trust becomes “irrevocable,” and your specifications are set in stone.
The trustee of your irrevocable trust will take inventory of any assets and hand over the property to the beneficiaries named in the trust. An irrevocable trust serves a specific purpose in protecting specific assets, though given its inflexibility, our attorneys can help you make mindful decisions regarding which investments make the most sense.
Contact Fuller Law Practice to discuss a living or irrevocable trust as part of your estate planning needs. We will offer transparent and helpful legal advice to ensure you are confident in your choices.
Why isn’t a Will Enough Protection?
A simple will is an essential tool in the estate planning process. It should not be overlooked, though it should not be the only consideration regarding end-of-life planning. Think of a will as a legal outline that indicates your final wishes—how you want your assets to be distributed, who you want to receive them, funeral arrangements, and finally, guardianship decisions regarding your minor children.
A will does its job by communicating information to the court and ensuring your executor can distribute your assets as intended. Wills must typically go through the probate process as they must be validated first.
This process can take six to 18 months, and that’s as long as there are no complications such as complex assets or disputes. That said, a will offers just enough protection but not enough to avoid the probate process or possible legal complications.
On the other hand, a trust is a non-probate option that ensures your assets stay private and out of the legal system. Attorneys with Fuller Law Practice can guide your will, trust, or any other estate planning option to protect your family.
What is Probate?
Probate is the legal process to authenticate and execute a will when a person dies. When a person dies without a will or “intestate,” the probate process is enforced as there’s no will to determine how the decedent’s assets should be distributed among heirs such as family members or friends.
Without this guidance, the court must step in to resolve the estate. Most people associate the probate process with time and money. This isn’t a myth. With a will, most probate cases take six to 18 months to resolve once a petition is filed.
Suppose an estate is particularly complex with multiple properties, assets, and business entities involved, for example, or family members cannot agree. In that case, it can sometimes take one to two years before a probate case is closed.
This is a situation where there’s no trust involved. A trust is non-probate and does not have to go through the probate process as it’s a private arrangement and the assets “belong” to the trust. If you have questions about the probate process or you need legal guidance to work through probate-related issues, consider Fuller Law Practice.
Can an Attorney Set Up a Trust?
A trust is part of estate planning, an all-encompassing approach to protecting your assets. When you partner with us, we look at all the ways you can achieve this, including a trust.
There are different types of trusts to consider—from living to irrevocable to asset protection trusts—and setting one up can be burdensome and costly without legal guidance. Our attorneys will help with asset selection, help appoint a trustee, and ensure you make the right choices based on your long-term goals.
We want to ensure your comfort, peace of mind, and security when making these critical decisions for your end-of-life plans. Count on us for wholesome legal guidance, drafting an effective strategy, filing the paperwork and managing the details, and revisiting your trust, will, or other estate plans as life changes or events demand.
Fuller Law Practice is your go-to for all estate planning needs, including setting up a trust. You can start by taking inventory of your assets and booking an initial consultation to discuss your final wishes and end-of-life goals. Call us and speak with an experienced attorney: (702) 935-4144.