A few months ago, I was hiking with a friend in the Redwoods visiting from Colorado and he asked, “What can I do to make sure that when I die it won’t be a huge burden on my wife and children to handle my estate?” This is a common concern for many of us.
“Probate” is a word many do not care to hear, as we all have heard horror stories about huge expenses and large delays which lock up inheritances potentially for years.
The good news, trusts, when set up and managed properly, avoid probate, and allow assets to pass to loved ones almost immediately, while avoiding court all together. There is no burden with court for your family when you have a properly managed trust. In addition, there is a common misconception in our society, that you must be rich to set up a trust, but this is simply not true. A trust might be a good fit for someone with a modest amount of wealth depending on their desires and what type of assets they own.
There are many different types of trusts, some revocable and others not revocable, some provide tax benefits, while others do not. But, when a person sets up a “revocable living trust,” they are taking a step forward to ensure their loved ones aren’t burdened with having to probate their estate in court after they have passed. In addition, the creator of the trust can revoke this type of trust and change things at any time according to the language of the trust document. Therefore, the creator of the revocable living trust retains full, complete control of all their assets so long as they are mentally capable and alive. This is why it is called a “revocable” trust. You can change it as you wish.
A trust may be a very helpful tool for your family when dealing with what happens to your assets after you are gone. Properly caring for loved ones left after us, is critical to our next generation of family and friends. Working with families and friends to manage their estates within the boundaries of the law is our specialty. Feel free to contact our office should you have further questions or desire to discuss options for your estate plan and trusts.
Scott C. Bucy is an attorney with the Law Office of Good, Bucy, Elson and Drescher, specializing in estate planning, estate administration, probate, business, and contracts. Contact him at (541) 482-3763.