A living trust is a written legal document through which your assets are placed into a trust for your benefit during your lifetime and then transferred to your designated beneficiaries upon your death. Your living trust needs to include a pour-over will, durable power of attorney for financial matters and a durable power of attorney for health care. You should also include a living will which will spell out your wishes about life-sustaining medical care.
One of the most important benefits of having a living trust is avoiding probate. Probate is the process of court proceedings through which your assets are distributed according to your wishes by the executor. Probate can be very expensive in government fees and legal expenses, and your assets could be tied in the legal process for several months to years. However, having a living trust avoids the whole process allowing for faster distribution of assets to your heirs.
Another benefit to a living trust is privacy. A will is public record and so all transactions on behalf of the will are public as well. On the other hand, a living trust is not made public, and upon your death, your estate will be distributed in private. It is also important to note that a living trust is valid in every state. Even if you own out-of-state property, probate can be avoided with a living trust.
No matter what size of estate you have, there are many benefits that can be reached through a living trust. For more information and to find out why a living trust is right for you and your family, call 1-800-508-1729, Monday thru Friday,8 am-5 pm PST.