Revocable living trusts
are a powerful estate planning tool. Living trusts can bypass the
expense, delay and hassle of the probate court process. They also
will provide a smooth transition for money management if you are
disabled. After you are gone, you can control the disposition of
your estate to whom you want, when you want, and in the manner of
Why was probate avoidance
such a big deal? The probate court system can be slow and expensive,
and it is open to the public. Not surprisingly, lawyers were slow to
move their clients into living trusts. Adopting anything new is
difficult, but will based planning could result in significant
probate fees for the attorney. Legal fees from $10,000 to $40,000 on
a million dollar probate estate were quite
But, the move to living
trusts had problems. Some were sold as “probate avoidance” kits by
sales people, without the involvement of attorneys and other
planning professionals. Well meaning families and the elderly spent
money for promises that weren’t fulfilled. Probate wasn’t avoided,
and numerous other problems ensued.
Are you a candidate for a
living trust? If you can organize your financial affairs while
living, you can help take advantage of the benefits of a living
What other advantages do
living trusts have? No change in tax consequences while you are
living; your property is immediately available after your death; you
can plan to minimize death taxes; difficult to attack (wills can be
contested easily); disability provisions avoid the hassle and
expense of a trip to court - your trustees will manage and
distribute your assets after your death in the manner you choose.
While living, you are free to change the trust, cancel it and use
its assets as you see fit. Living trusts also can provide many
personal planning options. Professional money management can be
arranged. You can make provisions for heirs with special needs, or
that have problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
What are the
disadvantages of revocable living trusts? Preparing a living trust
is typically more expensive than creating a will based plan.
Although wills that incorporate trusts and other advanced planning
provisions may just as expensive. Funding the trust is the other
Funding is the process of
moving the trust maker’s assets into his or her trust. This process
takes some attention to detail. When completed, you as trustee hold
title to the assets in your trust. As trustee, you manage the assets
for the beneficiary of the trust, which is you! Sound confusing?
Actually, it isn’t, but it takes some education on your part to
fully understand how trusts can work for you.
My clients, individually
or in groups are introduced to Estate Planning 101. A presentation
about the many facets of estate planning. I work to educate my
clients about planning their estates. They, in turn, educate me
about their families, their assets and their
encourage you to visit with a skilled estate planning attorney. Find
one that will work with your tax and financial advisors to create a
workable plan for you and your loved ones.
Law Offices of Richard
Rick Jensen, attorney and
counsellor at law
944-0406 email: email@example.com