Estate planning can involve several different forms of asset distribution. While it’s possible to create several parts of your estate plan on your own, hiring a probate attorney to handle your estate planning is always a better option. Even if you don’t hire a probate attorney to create your estate plan, you should have a lawyer review your documentation to make sure you have what’s necessary.
Living trusts, in particular, can be complex procedures. With complicated legal language, hiring a probate attorney can ensure that your living trust documentation is legally valid. Let’s take a closer look at living trusts and why hiring an attorney is essential.
What Is a Living Trust?
A living trust is a legal document in the estate planning process. It differs from other trusts because it allows the trustor to manage and make decisions regarding their property and assets while they are alive.
Living trusts can be either revocable or irrevocable. Revocable trusts can be changed at any point while you are still alive. The ability to change the terms of revocable trusts is what makes them the most popular living trust option. They ensure that your loved ones will get your assets as you wish while allowing you the freedom to manage your assets until you die.
On the other hand, the agreement terms of irrevocable trusts cannot be changed unless particular circumstances are met.
Benefits of Living Trusts
The most significant benefit of a living trust is that it helps your estate avoid the probate process when you pass away. Since the probate process is a function of the court, it can be a long and complicated process. Your beneficiaries and heirs are only paid with what money is left at the end of the probate process. A living trust helps you avoid the common drawbacks of probate court.
Living trusts are also more private than a traditional will. Wills become a matter of public record through the probate process. A judge and other court-appointed officials will need to go through your assets and debts in court to complete the probate process. A living trust keeps your information private. It can also protect your heirs from making their financial situation public by identifying their inheritance.
Living trusts can also save your family money on taxes related to property transfers and gifts. Before you choose a living trust, for this reason, check with your probate attorney because many states don’t impose estate or inheritance taxes.
Do I Need a Living Trust Attorney?
Since every living trust document must contain specific language and stipulations, it’s crucial to hire a probate attorney. They will ensure that all the necessary documentation is present, notarized, and legally valid. Even the most basic trusts can benefit from attorney review.
Hiring an attorney from the beginning of the process will ensure that your intentions are clear and there is no room for interpretation. If you are creating a living will as part of your estate plan, contact Derryberry & Associates. Our Lancaster probate attorneys are here to help you through every step of the estate planning process. Call to schedule a free consultation.