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What Are the Benefits of a Living Trust in an Estate Plan?

 Posted on September 29, 2023 in Estate Planning

Untitled---2023-09-29T120040.491.jpgWhen it comes to estate planning, there are several legal tools that you can use to help ensure that your assets and property will be protected and distributed according to your wishes. One such tool is a living trust, which is also known as a revocable trust or inter vivos trust. 

When you create a trust, you will fund it by transferring your assets out of your direct control. A trustee will manage the assets and distribute them to named beneficiaries according to your instructions. With a living trust, you can serve as the trustee while you are still alive, and you can name a successor trustee who will assume control of the trust in the event of your death or incapacitation. You can also be a beneficiary of the trust, which will allow you to use your assets to meet your needs while also ensuring that they will be distributed to other beneficiaries either before or after your death.

A living trust can provide numerous benefits, and it can be a crucial component of your estate plan. To determine the best ways to use a living trust, other types of trusts, or other estate planning tools, you can work with an experienced attorney to craft a comprehensive plan that will meet your family’s needs. Your lawyer can advise you on the potential benefits of creating a living trust, which may include:

1. Avoiding Probate

A major advantage of establishing a living trust is that it allows you to transfer assets to beneficiaries without the need to go through the probate process. During this judicial process, a court will validate a person’s last will and testament, and the executor of the estate will distribute assets to the person’s beneficiaries according to the instructions in their will. The probate process can be time-consuming and expensive, and it is open to public scrutiny.

By creating a living trust, you can transfer ownership of your assets into the trust while retaining control over them during your lifetime. Upon your death, these assets will pass directly to your designated beneficiaries without going through probate. This not only saves time, but it also helps maintain privacy, since trusts do not become part of the public record.

2. Flexibility and Control

A living trust offers greater flexibility compared to some other estate planning tools. With a living trust, you will have more control over how your assets are managed during your lifetime, and you can ensure that they will be properly distributed to your beneficiaries while you are alive and after you pass. Since a living trust is revocable, you can change its terms at any time.

You have the freedom to name yourself as trustee initially so that you can retain control over managing and using your assets. In addition, you can provide instructions for when and how funds should be distributed among your beneficiaries. You can even create conditions for distribution based on certain milestones, such as when beneficiaries reach specific ages or complete educational goals.

3. Incapacity Planning

A living trust also serves as an invaluable tool for addressing your needs if you become incapacitated due to illness or injury. In situations where you are unable to manage your financial affairs, the successor trustee you appointed in the trust can step in and handle those responsibilities on your behalf.

Having a living trust helps avoid the need for court-appointed conservatorship or guardianship, which can be intrusive and costly processes. With a legally established living trust, your chosen successor trustee can seamlessly take over the management of your assets without interruption. They will then be able to use the trust’s assets to provide for your ongoing care and treatment and ensure that your needs will be met.

Contact Our Greenwich Living Trust Lawyers

If you are considering establishing a living trust, the experienced New Canaan estate planning attorneys at Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC can help you understand your options. We can work with you to navigate the complex world of estate planning, ensuring that you understand the best steps to take to protect your assets and provide for your needs. To schedule a free consultation, please contact us at 203-661-6000. Our team is ready to assist you in creating a comprehensive estate plan that will help you achieve your goals.

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