How Living Trusts Help You Avoid Probate

Regardless of the size of your estate, one of the primary advantages of using a living trust is to avoid probate. The cost and amount of time to complete estate administration in probate is considerably greater than that of a living trust. Probate, on average, can take four to nine months (or sometimes longer) to complete, thus freezing the assets over this period, which your family may need at this most desperate time.

With respect to people who own real property in different states, they will have to endure multiple probates of that real property if they fail to implement a living trust. This occurs because real property can only be probated in the jurisdiction in which the land is located. By using a living trust, no probate in any jurisdiction would be necessary since the property would be owned by a trustee at the time of your death, not you individually.

Post-Mortem Asset Management

Successor trustees of living trusts generally have more powers and latitude in managing estates than do personal representatives. In most cases, a personal representative will have to seek court approval to carry out an act he or she believes is in the best interests of the probate estate. This process can be time-consuming and costly to the probate estate.

Living Trusts And Guardianships

Living trusts are excellent tools to eliminate the need to establish a guardianship or conservatorship over an estate. Living trusts can provide standards for determining competency and appoint a person or corporate fiduciary to manage your estate while you are incompetent. Court supervision and continued hearings regarding the accountings of your estate are eliminated since the assets are in your trust and not part of a guardianship or conservatorship estate.

Pour-Over Wills: Do I Need A Will And A Trust?

Many people think that if you have a living trust, you don't need a will. This is partly true and partly false. It is true that you don't need a will if you have a living trust because your successor trustee will distribute your assets without the need for probate and in accordance with your wishes, which are set forth in your trust agreement. However, a will is still necessary. If there is any property subject to probate, your will can direct your executor to probate the property and put it into the living trust for proper management and distribution. This type of will is known as a "pour-over will." Your pour-over will is also important because you can:

  • Designate your wishes concerning your burial arrangements
  • Designate a guardian for your minor children
  • Designate a guardian over your personal needs if you became incapacitated
  • Address creditor claims for a particular asset that may not be advantageous to placing in your living trust

Disadvantages Of A Living Trust

The upfront cost of implementing a living trust may be more than creating a will. The main costs are in transferring your assets into the living trust. You can accomplish most of these transfers fairly easily with the assistance of your broker, real estate agent, banker or investment adviser. The upfront cost of preparing a trust and drafting the supporting documents is more costly than preparing a simple will. However, with careful estate planning and a thorough analysis of your estate planning goals, tens of thousands of dollars can potentially be saved by using a living trust, thus making it a sound investment in your future as well as your family's future.

Contact An Attorney Today

For estate planning assistance in Nevada, please contact a lawyer at Abrams Probate & Planning Group in Las Vegas: 888-636-8370. I provide a free initial consultation and prompt, attentive service to meet your needs.