By Libby Banks,
Law Office of Libby Banks, PLLC

There are many benefits to a revocable living trust. A trust is not just for the wealthy. There is no magic net worth number that tells us when a trust provides the best plan for your assets. Two key factors we look at to decide if a trust is the best option are your family situation and what type of property you own.

Here are a few of the advantages to the revocable living trust:

The Revocable Living Trust Appoints Someone to Care for Your Finances When You are Not Able
Wills and trusts both contain instructions about who should receive your assets after you die. However, a revocable living trust also contains instructions for managing your assets and caring for you if you are incapacitated. Who will manage your affairs if you can’t? The trust names the trustee you selected who will step in to pay your bills, preserve your assets, liquidate properties, and generally assure that both you and your finances are being cared for.

A Revocable Living Trust Avoids Probate, Maintains Some of Your Privacy, and Reduces the Cost of Wrapping Up Your Estate at Death
A will tells the world who will receive your assets after your death. However, the will does not transfer the assets automatically. Instead, your personal representative or executor must submit the will along with several other papers to the court requesting the court formally appoint him or her to wrap up your estate. That court proceeding is called probate, and if all you have is a will, your estate will likely go through probate.

A properly prepared and funded revocable living trust, on the other hand, will avoid the need for probate on your death. Since probate court filings are public record, the trust also avoids the possibility of disclosure of your assets to the public. With a trust, the person you selected to take charge of your estate will be able to step in quickly to gather, sell and distribute your assets to your beneficiaries with no need for a court’s involvement.

Avoiding probate is usually a good idea. One example of why: if you have specifically omitted one of your “heirs” from your plan, the probate court still requires us to send them notice that we filed a probate – even though they are supposed to get nothing. As you can imagine, this often leads to that person filing a contest or claim in the probate proceeding. Who are your heirs? Your children, or if you have no children, then your parents are your heirs, then your siblings, and then nieces and nephews.

The revocable living trust makes sense for many estates. To find out if it makes sense for you, call for a free initial consultation, offered by videoconference or phone at 602-375-6752.