Many people, understandably, don’t know what a living trust is, much less whether they should create one as part of their estate plan. While a will is sufficient for many people’s needs, a living trust can offer several advantages to you and your beneficiaries that should be considered when you’re determining how your assets should be distributed after your passing.
Living trusts are not, by any means, just for individuals with vast estates. Though they are sometimes more complicated to set up initially, they are oftentimes the best legal tool available to individuals with certain common circumstances and needs.
Below are some of the reasons you may consider creating a living trust to protect your assets and the future of your heirs.
You Have Minor Children
A living trust can hold your assets for your minor children until they reach a predetermined age.
If you create a living trust, you can appoint a trustee to oversee the account on behalf of the named beneficiary. While you’re still alive, you can continue to transfer any assets you want to be held in trust to go to your kids. Upon your death, your trustee will distribute your property based on the terms you provided.
The great thing about establishing a living trust for your kids is that someone will control how much they receive and at what age they receive it. You can include a clause in the trust that your minor children aren’t allowed access to your assets until they turn 25, 35, or even 50 years old. You can also have the assets distributed based on a schedule, such as monthly or annually.
You Become Incapacitated
Whether you’re at an advanced age or have a terminal illness, it would be beneficial to create a living trust to protect your assets and ensure your loved ones are taken care of if you can no longer speak for yourself. Setting up a living trust allows your appointed trustee to gain immediate access if something happens to you.
For example, let’s say you’re in a traumatic car accident that leaves you in a coma. You can’t make decisions or inform your family how you want your assets handled. However, if you have already set up a living trust, the trustee can manage the funds on your behalf.
Your Beneficiaries Can Avoid Probate
Probate is the legal process of validating and administrating assets in a deceased individual’s estate. Typically, named beneficiaries must go through probate to validate a will or if the deceased did not have a will. However, many people don’t realize you could avoid probate if you have a living trust.
If you want your loved ones to be able to quickly access the assets you leave behind, you should set up a living trust. This will allow them to receive the property you designated for each beneficiary immediately upon your death. They won’t have to go to court for authorization to distribute those assets.
Talk to an Orange County Estate Planning Attorney
Don’t hesitate to speak with an estate planning attorney immediately if you’re considering creating a living trust. A knowledgeable lawyer can review your assets and other factors to help you determine if a living trust is right for you and guide you through each step of the process. To get started, contact one of our law firms located in Orange County and throughout the state of California by calling (800) 244-8814.