You have worked hard and made every attempt to be a smart saver. Even if you are a person of modest means, you have an estate and its natural to want some control over what happens to your assets when you pass away. In order to to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes, you want to have an estate plan. The right strategy depends on your individual circumstances. For most, a living trust can be a useful and practical tool. What is a living trust anyway? And how does it differ from a will?
A Will is a written document which is signed and witnessed and indicates how your property will be distributed when you die. It is revocable and can be amended at any time during your lifetime.
A Revocable Living Trust is a document which provides lifetime and after death property management by naming a trustee to carry out your wishes. Upon death, court intervention is not required and eliminates the expense, publicity and inconvenience of probate administration.
How Epiphany Law Can help
Our experienced attorneys can help you determine whether a living trust or a will is better for your unique situation. A thoughtful discussion with an informed estate planning attorney can make this decision clear.
At Epiphany Law, we pride ourselves on helping our clients make the best, most cost-effective decision possible. Our experienced attorneys won’t hesitate to suggest a will if that fits your needs most appropriately.
Questions and Answers
Q. At what estate size does a trust make sense?
A. There is no magic number for when a revocable living trust would be more appropriate than a will. It depends upon your wishes and goals. As a rule of thumb, the inexpensive, expedited form of probate is available for very small estates. If your gross estate, including your home, life insurance, retirement funds and other assets, exceeds one hundred thousand dollars, you might want to look at the benefits of a revocable living trust closely.
Q. How often do I need to review a trust?
A. All estate plans, wills and trusts alike, should be revisited periodically as the circumstances of your life changes. Thus, if you have a child, get married (or divorced), lose a loved one, or receive an inheritance, you must review your estate plan. In addition, with drastically changing tax laws, it probably makes sense to review your plan at least annually.
Q. If I forget to re-title one asset in my revocable living trust, will my estate go through probate?
A. That depends upon how smart your attorney is. If you have set up the trust with a “pour-over will”, it is likely that your estate can still avoid probate. A pour-over will essentially directs that any assets outside the trust at the time of your death will be put into the trust so they can go to the heirs you choose. Without such a provision, you will likely be subject to probate.