Think of your to do list – is there something on there that keeps on getting shifted from first to last? Many of us are natural procrastinators and that can mean that sometimes we put off very important pieces of our lives. What would you leave behind if you passed away today? Would your estate be in complete order allowing your loved ones to grieve without additional financial stress and burden? Although not always an easy or exciting topic of conversation at family gatherings one of the greatest gifts you can give your loved ones is having your affairs in order.
A living trust partially, or sometimes completely, substitutes for a will. It a written legal document that places your assets, which include your home, bank accounts, stocks, etc., into the trust to be administered for your benefit during your lifetime. When you die your assets are then transferred to your beneficiaries as you direct in the trust.
A benefit to a living trust is that if you become unable to manage your assets yourself you can name a trustee to take over management so your wishes can still be ensured. At your death the trustee is able to gather your assets and pay any remaining debts and taxes and distribute your assets according to your instructions. A will would require the probate court to be involved in the distribution of assets, where in a trust this can all be done outside the court.
Do I need a Trust?
A trust is not just for the wealthy, but has benefits for estates of all sizes. Young married couples with children might not typically think of creating a trust, but having a living trust during the event of sudden illness or an accident would be highly beneficial. The greater the value of your assets, especially if you own real estate, the greater the need for a living trust.
How can a Living Trust be helpful at my death?
Since your assets would be managed by the trustee and distributed without court supervision, your heirs will be saved time and money. The assets, their value, and your beneficiaries’ identities, would not become a public record.
If your assets were not in a living trust when you die, they could be subject to probate. Probate is a court-supervised process for transferring assets to the beneficiaries listed in one’s will. After your death, typically the personal representative/executor of your will would file a petition with the court. Your will would be admitted to probate and the personal representative/executor would be officially appointed by the court. An inventoried list of your assets would be filed with the court and all creditors would be given notice. Once all assets have been distributed the court process ends.
Time and Money
The probate process can take more time to complete than the distribution of property held in a living trust. Assets tied up in probate will not be a readily accessible to beneficiaries as assets held in a living trust. Additionally, the cost of probate is many times more expensive than the cost of managing and distributing similar assets held in a living trust.
Consider your loved ones and the talk with a professional today. An experienced attorney can help you understand the benefits of a trust for your situation and determine the best plan for you and your loved ones.
Seglund Gabe Pawlak & Groth, PLC
Our experienced attorneys are committed to providing our clients with the guidance and support that they need to resolve their estate and probate issues. With over five decades serving clients in Southeastern Michigan, the attorneys of Seglund Gabe Pawlak & Groth, PLC have the knowledge and resources to resolve your legal matters.
The laws pertaining to estates, administration of trusts, guardianship and other cases in Probate Court are complex and ever changing. Experienced legal counsel can help navigate the maze of procedures involved in handling a decedent’s estate, guardianship, conservatorship or trust. Contact our team today to set up an initial consultation.
Seglund Gabe Pawlak & Groth, PLC
28345 Beck Road, Suite 301
Wixom, MI 48393
Phone: (248) 869-0030
Fax: (248) 869-0039