You Don't Need to Be a Movie Star or a President to Have a Trust

A trust, also known as a revocable living trust, is a legal document. A trust allows you to transfer ownership of your titled property (land, cars, home) and your personal property (coin collections, furniture, fishing equipment) from your name into a trust which you control to take advantage of certain legal benefits offered to you by the laws of the land.

A revocable living trust is a legal contract that when written and used properly, allows your personal matters to be handled privately if you are incapacitated or die.

Things in a trust are passed to your named heirs with no court involvement. As a result, a living trust keeps you and your family out of court. You avoid unnecessary expense and the pain of delay.

People who die owning property and assets, either with a will or without a will, risk leaving their loved ones to face the ordeal of probating an estate.

Probating an estate is the legal term for going to court to get the name of a person who has died off a title and getting the name of a live person onto the title. Probate is the legal process of transferring legal ownership.

This probate court process can take a year or more to complete. Until the process is complete, money and property cannot be distributed and used to care for loved ones who are left behind.

The process is quite involved and usually requires the help of a knowledgeable attorney. If you've been through the process you know. It's something you want to avoid. A trust helps you avoid probate.

One important benefit of a living trust is to protect your loved ones from the stress of probate if something unexpected happens to you.

But that's just the beginning. You don't have to be a movie star or a president to want to protect your loved ones from the perils of probate. You just have to care.

Do You Really Need a Trust? This will Help You Decide ...

There are a whole bunch of benefits to having a trust.

A trust keeps you in control of how your belongings, property, and assets are distributed to the people you choose to be your heirs.

A trust can be changed or revoked while you are alive and mentally able to make your own decisions. If you change your mind, your trust can be changed to reflect your new decision.

A trust not only keeps your heirs out of probate, it also avoids the expense of probate. Going to court costs not only attorney fees but a substantial investment of time for your grieving loved ones.

A trust takes much less time than probate and gets your property to your heirs more quickly. They can get what they need faster.

Avoiding probate and getting your property to your heirs more quickly means your loved ones can grieve your loss without the hassle of going through your property deeds, financial papers, and searching for information on all your accounts.

A trust maintains your privacy. Because when your property is all in a trust, you don't have to file a probate case with the court to get ownership transferred, your personal matters remain personal.

A trust can be used as a prenuptial agreement.

And it can reduce estate taxes.

So many wonderful benefits.

Get Rid of Probate for Good

Probate is the legal process through which when you die, your bills are paid and your property is distributed.

The Probate court distributes your property based on what your will says.

What? You don't have a will?

If you don’t have a will, the probate court will distribute your property according to a set of laws written by people who have never met you, who have tried to guess the best way to distribute your assets to your heirs. One size fits all which usually means it fits no one very well.

You have a will? That doesn't mean you're protected from probate court.

Despite what many people think, a will does not avoid probate. Wills must be probated in probate court.

Once the probate process begins, you and your family lose control.

The court takes over. Probate is painstakingly slow, inflexible, and expensive.

Until the probate process is completed, property cannot be distributed.

The probate court, not a child's guardian will control a child's inheritance until the child reaches the age of distribution set in the will.

Again, probate court can take a year or more to complete.

Probate costs an average of 5 to 10% of the value of your estate. The percentage is controlled by law and varies depending upon the size of your estate, which means how much property you own.

Probate court records may be inspected and viewed by anyone. They're open to the public to examine, discuss, publish or protest. People who value their privacy for themselves and their families should consider a trust.