Everybody knows that a will is a document that sets forth how a person would like their estate distributed when they die. Most people know that it's better to have a will than to risk passing away without one. What's not such common knowledge is that there are other types of estate planning tools, such as revocable living trusts, that can do a better job of protecting a person's assets and their family's privacy.
What Wrong With a Will?
A will is a document that spells out the wishes of a person, known as a testator, for the distribution of their property after their death. It usually appoints a person to be the executor of the will, charged with carrying out the instructions laid out in the document. This process is managed by the probate court. The job of the probate court is to ensure that the will is authentic, and to resolve any disputes that may arise regarding the will. This process is expensive and time-consuming, especially since there can be many relatives with standing to contest a will. Another drawback is that the inventory of the estate and its assets is made publicly available through the probate process.
What's Better About a Revocable Trust?
The person planning their estate, known as a settlor, grants their property to a trust. Many types of property can be placed in a trust including personal property, bank accounts and real estate holdings. Estate planning trusts will usually name the settlor as the trustee to ensure that they maintain control of the property, with a successor to take over as trustee upon the incapacity or death of the settlor. The trust is revocable, which means that the settlor can alter or terminate the trust at any time. The distribution of the assets of the trust is not supervised by the court and is not a public record, protecting the family's privacy. There usually still needs to be a will, but the will does need to specify how the assets will be distributed, but merely pours into the revocable trust.
For more information on Why a Revocable Living Trust is a Good Estate Planning Tool, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (855) 451-1260 today.