Beyond Taxes – Basic Reasons Why You Should Consider a Living Trust
The Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is arguably the simplest and most powerful estate planning tool for wealth protection.
All too often, individuals only consider the RLT as a tool to lessen their federal estate tax burden. But an RLT can do so much more than address taxes.
Sometimes we are so focused on the complex benefits of this tool that we can often miss the simple yet powerful advantages that are often overlooked.
Taxes Aren’t Everything
When I interview new clients about their estate planning concerns, they may mention lower taxes, but they usually have other important reasons why they need help.
Ultimately, clients want control over who (their heirs) gets what, in what amount it’s disbursed and under what circumstances. They also want to know that their loved ones will be well provided for and protected from outside predators (lawsuits, ex-¬spouses, and creditors) seeking a piece of the estate.
One of the most compelling reasons for establishing an RLT is to avoid probate court.
Save on Time, Money and Emotions
Unless you establish a Trust to hold your assets upon your death, those assets can only be transferred to your beneficiaries through probate court.
The amount of time your estate is tied up in probate court can take months to years. This is time that your heirs are not benefiting from the assets you intended for them.
Establishing an RLT and properly funding it can eliminate the need for probate court altogether. After death, the assets are disbursed according to the instructions you set up in the Trust.
Three Big Savings
With regards to RLTs, there are usually three major savings that you should consider. First, the avoidance of probate allows you to reduce legal fees and pass on the savings to your family.
Second, the time it takes to administer the estate is reduced substantially. In certain cases, it can reduce the time by half.
Third, since the RLT simplifies the process for the beneficiaries, it can reduce the stress associated with a messy and long after-death administration. Nothing exacerbates a grieving family more than a grueling wait for an estate to be settled. Their mourning is extended and they can’t get closure.
In short, any of these reasons are strong enough for an individual to consider establishing an RLT.