By Roy Morris, Partner

A living trus is a legal document created when the applicant is still alive. It allows for the easy transfer of assets without having to go through the probate process. However, there’s much more to a living trust than just avoiding probate. Three of the biggest reasons that make a living trust one of your first estate planning steps does not necessarily include escaping probate. Read on to find out the benefits of a living trust.
 

Protection of Property for Minor Children

When starting the estate planning process, the initial reaction is to hand over our property to our wife or children after we die. However, in some instances that is not a viable options, such as cases where the children are under the age of eighteen. Being of legal age does not necessarily mean maturity when handling large sums of money. That is where a living trust acts in your favor.
 
You can create a trust for your child with someone else (such as a close relative, family friend or attorney) naming them the trustee. This person keeps the money safe. They also prudently invest it on your child’s behalf. Once said child reaches the set age, they would receive the full amount  of the trust’s value.

Managing Property in Case of Incapacity

It’s a harsh fact of life that we grow old and become almost powerless. In some cases, we are totally dependent on others for care. When the property in question is in an incapacitated person’s name, how the situation is handled is decided through probate. However, you can avoid a similar situation by creating a revocable or modifiable living trust.
 
You are able to assign a trustee to take care of your property in the event you are unable to handle your own affairs. The benefits of this mean potentially avoiding probate, but also allowing you to transfer your property into trusted hands.

Safeguarding Your Privacy

An estate file is available in probate court once a person dies; anyone can see it. This is a large factor in avoiding probate. Revocable living trusts are completely private- they are not a public like probate. Only the people named by the trustee can view the file. No one wants to grant access to the entire world regarding their property and who received it after death. Safeguarding one’s privacy is more important for some than others. However, it is a concern when trying to protect your beneficiaries after you have passed.
 
At Dunlap Bennett & Ludwig, you can entrust in one of our many experienced attorneys for estate planning. Our dedicated lawyers want to help families and individuals plan their financial future effectively. Legal representation is required at some point in life, generally in the form of technical expertise or legal advice. It is recommended to start the process as soon as possible to avoid legal issues later down the road. Our firm furnishes offices across the nation, feel free to view their office locations on their website.

Posted in: Estate Planning