Estate Planning for Beginners: Do I Need a Trust?

In this series, our estate lawyer in Cary NC is discussing what a beginner may need to know about estate planning. We have defined an estate, outlined what is included in an estate plan, and talked about why consulting with a lawyer may be the best choice for you. Now let’s talk about trusts.

Trusts | Estate Lawyer in Cary NC

An estate plan consists of several documents including a will, but some prefer to create a living trust instead. Whether or not creating a trust is right for you will depend on your situation.

A living trust is established to control your assets while you are alive. It is created so that when you pass away, the assets in it are passed to your heirs without going through the probate process, which can be lengthy and expensive. There is often a quicker distribution of funds to your heirs, sometimes in as little as a few weeks. A will that goes through the probate process can take months or even years to complete.

Living Trusts | Estate Lawyer in Cary NC

When you create a living trust, you have control over it. It must be funded in order to work, so you will have to transfer your assets into it soon after it is established. You can still benefit from your assets while you are alive, but upon your death, the person you named your trustee will oversee it.

Another benefit of creating a living trust is the privacy it offers. A trust is never made public, while a will is considered public record. A will and any transactions related to it can be made public, too.

If you own property out of state but it is included in your living trust, it will not be subject to its own state’s probate process.

A will may cost less to draft, but if you have a large estate and/or want to avoid having your family go through the probate process, a living trust can be worth the money. In addition, if you feel that someone in your family may contest your final wishes, a living trust will hold up in court better than a will.

If you have children that you want to take care of financially upon your death, a living trust can be a better choice because it is less likely to cause your assets to be tied up in court proceedings.

While a living trust may be beneficial for some, there are a few situations when it may not be the best choice. For instance, if you are young and own a home but plan to move in the next few years, establishing a trust and funding it with your home is going to complicate things when you go to sell it. You would have to put the title in the name of the trust rather than keep it in your name.

If you are married and your spouse would inherit your assets upon your death, and there are no other people you want to name as heirs, then a living trust may not be worth the time and effort because most state laws will pass anything you own together to the surviving spouse.

Estate Lawyer in Cary NC

Still unsure of whether or not you need a living trust in your estate plan? You can always check with our estate lawyer in Cary NC who can help with estate planning. We will be able to provide guidance on what will be best for you and your situation. Contact our office to set up a consultation.

Need to visit back with other blogs in this series? Click on the links below!

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