Revocable Living Trusts save time, reduce costs and preserve privacy.
Revocable living trust can be used as estate planning tools to reduce the assets that must go through probate. When this type of trust owns an asset like a car or real property there is not usually a need to probate the asset. It is a common myth that only the wealthy have trusts, the myth survives only because there is a lack of education as to the benefits of revocable living trusts. Some of the benefits that are common with a properly created and maintained revocable living trust are:
- Assets in the trust avoid probate
- The trustee(s) control the assets and not the court
- Allows for maximum privacy in financial matters
- Using the trust can make assets available for distribution to beneficiaries much quicker than when no trust is used
- Assets become available for distribution only when you decide they should be available
- Usually less expensive than probate
- Modify terms or terminate the trust in whole at any time
- Add and remove property at any time
- You can specify the individual that will control the inheritance of any minor until he/she meets your specific requirements to inherit
- Allows for protection of beneficiaries with special needs and/or receiving government benefits
- Eliminates problems of joint ownership
- Allows for professional management by a corporate or other professional trustee
- Peace of mind
Only the assets in the trust avoid probate. It is important to properly maintain the trust and to ensure assets ownership is setup to ensure the trust either owns the asset or that the asset transfers on death to the trust. Assets that are not held by a trust or using some other estate planning strategy will likely need to go through probate. Probate is expensive, slow, lacks privacy and causes your personal representative (executor or administrator) to be at the mercy of the court.
A revocable living trust does not protect assets from Medicaid (KanCare) claims. For additional information on trusts that can protect assets from estate recovery, please see our Elder Law practice area.