One of the main concerns that people who visit an elder law attorney’s office have is how to ensure that all of their assets go to the right family or friends that they want them to. They often think that the best way for this to happen is with a document called a “last will and testament.” However, while wills have several benefits, they also have a downside. People who aren’t happy with the way that the assets are divided in the document can potentially dispute the will. And there is also a lengthy and expensive probate process to go through just to pass on the assets. Because of this, the best solution is often to create a revocable living trust instead.
This type of trust gets its name from the fact that it is created while a person is still alive. All of the conditions of the revocable living trust can be changed at any time, which gives a person more flexibility throughout their lifetime. Some trusts are irrevocable. So once they are created, they are a permanent and binding contract.
A revocable living trust is a much different type of document than a will because it creates a separate entity. All of a person’s assets are transferred to the trust before their death. After the creator of the trust dies, the trust will have its own tax identification number. That means a separate income tax return has to be filed, even though the assets were once the property of the trust’s creator. This transfer of assets is beneficial because it allows a person to disperse their assets faster after their death than they could if their loved ones had to go through probate.
Each person’s situation is different. So it is best to schedule a consultation with an attorney before making any further legal decisions. Contact Beyer, Pongratz, and Rosen to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney.