Many clients wonder if a revocable trust is a preferable means of estate planning and providing for the ultimate disposition of assets to family members and other loved ones. Frequent mentions in the popular press to the effect of “protect your family and your estate, purchase a living trust” or “avoid the headaches of probate, have a living trust” have many of our clients wondering, do I need a living trust?
In its simplest terms, a living or revocable trust is an alternative to a will, which is the traditional method for person to dispose of assets after death. With a will, a decedent’s assets are customarily distributed by an executor under the supervision of the local clerk of court in the process commonly known as “probate.” Under a living trust, a person transfers ownership of assets to the trust during that person’s lifetime, and after death the trustee of the trust distributes assets without the supervision of the local clerk of court, or “outside of probate.”
Advantages of a living or revocable trust include ease of administration of assets after a person’s death, privacy and avoidance of probate, while disadvantages include initial costs of formation, retitling of assets during one’s lifetime and increased complexity with trust management during a person’s lifetime. As always, the ultimate “right” answer is a function of your particular situation, and the attorneys of Sumrell Sugg stand ready to assist you with formulating an estate plan that is tailored to fit your personal and family situation