a.Why should you get a Living Trust?
A living trust is an estate plan that is a set of different legal documents that is far more comprehensive than a Will. Usually a living trust includes a Trust Declaration that creates the trust, a legal and financial power of attorney, a durable power of attorney for health care, a nomination of conservator, a deed transferring any real property into the trust, a personal property assignment that transfers any personal property into the trust, and perhaps other documents as well. These documents help deal with a myriad of issues that might arise as you get older.
A will is a document that only deals with who gets your property upon your death, which typically requires a court probate proceeding.
All of your assets (properties, bank accounts, stocks, etc.) are usually transferred into a living trust, administrated by a trustee and then transferred to the beneficiaries after the death. It is common that people name themselves as trustees so they can remain in full control of their assets during their lifetime. You can also decide to name a trustee that will manage your assets for your benefit in case you become unable or unwilling to manage it yourself. The living trust is typically revocable which means that the person or persons who created it can modify it at any point.
A living trust is typically a better way to take care of your loved ones after your death than a Will. Indeed, the trust will ensure that your wishes are respected and that your assets are easily distributed.
Moreover, by thinking ahead and creating a living trust you will save your family the time and the expense that they will have to spend to go through the probate process.
A living trust helps to avoid probate and the inconvenience of court proceedings that a will requires. Sometimes the probate process can go on for months or even years before the beneficiaries get anything. The living trust will give instructions on how to pay the debts, taxes and claims and of course distribute your assets, saving your family or loved ones, time and expense.
The price of a living trust can vary depending on the complexity of your situation and also depending on how much each lawyer charges.
b. Do you still need a Will if you already have a Living Trust?
Typically, no. But, most living trusts have what is typically referred to as a “Pour Over Will”, which is a backup will that is only used if assets are mistakenly left out of the trust.