Understanding The Advantages Of Estate Planning

Posted on: 17 July 2023

In estate planning, living trusts are a popular tool for individuals seeking to protect and manage their assets during their lifetime and beyond. Yet this is an option that is often not fully understood. This can make it much harder for people to utilize it effectively.

What Is A The Purpose Of Pursuing The Formation Of A Living Trust?

A living trust is an arrangement allowing individuals to transfer their assets to the trust while maintaining control over those assets during their lifetime. The purpose of a living trust is to help avoid probate and offer flexibility in managing assets.

Unlike other estate planning tools, such as wills or testamentary trusts that only come into effect upon the grantor's death, a living trust takes effect immediately after its creation. The grantor appoints themselves as both the trustee and beneficiary. As trustees, they have full authority over managing and distributing assets within the trust.

Are There Any Limitations To Using A Living Trust?

While there are numerous advantages to establishing a living trust, it is important to consider potential downsides. Setting up a living trust can be more complex and expensive than creating a will. Additionally, transferring assets into the trust requires time and effort, and some assets may not be eligible for transfer.

Living trusts may not be suitable for everyone. If you have a small estate or simple distribution plans, a will might suffice. Furthermore, if you are young and do not have significant assets or dependents, the benefits of a living trust may not outweigh the costs.

Alternative estate planning tools are available for those who find living trusts unsuitable for their circumstances. These include wills, testamentary trusts, or other specialized trusts designed for specific purposes, such as charitable giving or asset protection.

Can You Modify Or Revoke Your Living Trust?

Living trusts are extremely flexible. As grantor and trustee during your lifetime, you can modify or revoke your living trust according to changing circumstances or preferences. To modify your living trust, you must prepare an amendment that clearly outlines the changes you wish to make. This amendment must adhere to legal requirements and comply with state laws governing trusts.

If you decide a living trust no longer suits your needs, it is possible to revoke or terminate it entirely. This involves drafting a revocation document that legally declares your intent to dissolve the trust. Due to the finality of this decision, you must thoroughly review whether this is your best option. Otherwise, you may have to go through the entire process again if you wish to reestablish it.

Reach out to an estate planning attorney near you to learn more.