By Libby Banks

Last month I wrote about incapacity planning using the Revocable Living Trust. This time we’ll talk about the advantages such a trust gives your family at your death.

A Revocable Living Trust Avoids Probate and the Cost of Court Interference at Death
A Trust that holds all of your assets will avoid the need for a probate and the public disclosure of your assets on your death. With a Trust, the person you appoint to wrap up your estate can do so quickly and in private. They can gather, sell, and distribute your assets to beneficiaries with no court involvement.

A Will requires probate. The person you have designated to wrap up your estate must file an application with the court and be appointed by the court before they can do anything. Yes, even if your Will says who is to act, it doesn’t give them the authority to do so. Only the court can do that. The Will doesn’t automatically transfer property either. Instead, your personal representative must be court appointed, and only then can they sign a deed to transfer the property. A probate court proceeding can be both costly and public. Anyone can look at the documents filed with the court. A Trust provides both privacy and a much smoother wrapping up of
your estate.

Other Reasons to Consider a Trust
Cost: When considering the choice between a Will based estate plan and a Trust based estate plan, consider the cost. My price for a basic probate is more than the average amount I charge for a Trust.

Types of property: If you have real estate, especially more than one property, a trust makes it easier to wrap up the estate.

Out of state property: If you have real property out of state, a trust is imperative. Otherwise, you may end up with two probates: one here, and one in another state.

Family situation: Do your children get along? Do you have children from this marriage and from a previous marriage or relationship? These situations can be fraught with difficulties. With a Trust, we can provide for all the contingencies and be sure your money goes where you want it to when you are gone.

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to use a Will or a Trust in your estate planning. To learn more, call our office for an appointment, or go to my website at