The Smart Alternative To A Will For Estate Planning
Everyone needs a will, but when it comes to creating a comprehensive estate plan a will should be considered but one element. Among other estate vehicles, estate planning experts now recommend also having a revocable trust. The revocable trust serves a similar function as that of the traditional last will and testament, but has some advantages over the will as well. Read on to learn more about the simplicity and the benefits of having a revocable trust in your estate plan created by a trusts lawyer.
What is a revocable trust?
Since this legal instrument can be easily changed and modified by the owner, it is referred to as "revocable". There is such a thing as a non-revocable trust, however, and it is quite different from a revocable trust. The flexibility is one of the main assets this type of trust holds, along with its similarities to a will. The trust must be set up before the owner's death, and no changes will be allowed after the owner's death. Before death, however, the owner can add and remove property and beneficiaries and even completely dissolve the trust and create a new one.
What goes into a revocable trust?
Any property that you might want to include in a will can also be included in a revocable trust, which may lead you to wonder why use a trust at all. There are at least two major advantages of a revocable trust over a will, and those become more apparent after the owner's death. A trust can contain real estate, cars, jewelry, cash, bonds, stocks and almost any other type of property. Just as with a will, the trust's owner can name beneficiaries to receive the property upon their deaths.
Two major advantages over a will
1. Expediency: When you leave property to someone in a will, it must be probated. The probate process can take some months to be complete, so that means an inevitable delay before the beneficiaries can access the bequeathed property. Any property addressed in a revocable trust can be made available to a beneficiary in as little time as it takes to have the death certificate issued (usually a couple of weeks or so).
It should be noted that any property mentioned in both the will and the revocable trust automatically follows the edict of the revocable trust. In other words, the revocable trust takes precedence over the will. Additionally, a trust can allow the owner to customize the way the property is distributed. For example, the trust might indicate that a certain sum of money be provided to a beneficiary once they are of a certain age.
2. Privacy: The contents of a revocable trust are private and not public record like a will is. No one need know what was given to who, which may help cut diminish any infighting about bequests.
To learn how a revocable trust could benefit your estate plan, speak to an estate attorney soon.