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Estate planning and the value of a living trust

One of the most difficult issues that a person can face is linked with his or her mortality. Of course, it is an inevitable part of life, but that does not make it any easier. When drafting estate planning documents, New York families must be cognizant of certain aspects and strategies to avoid family disputes and other problems after death. Trusts are useful in many different circumstances and knowing whether a trust is right for an individual's situation is important.

One type of trust to consider is a living trust. The living trust will place the assets in a fund, and it can be allocated as needed. The person can use them while alive and then transfer them to beneficiaries upon death. These documents are generally revocable meaning they can be changed while the person is alive. It can be dissolved if that is the desire. When creating a living trust, it will be necessary to name a trustee. The person can name him or herself as the trustee and managed the assets according to their goals. A variety of assets can be placed in the living trust from stocks to property and more. The person has the power to oversee the trust until death. After death, it will go to the successor trustee. The successor trustee can also take charge if the person becomes incapacitated.

A living trust is useful if there are substantial assets in the estate. It avoids the probate process that is part of a will. Probate can be costly and time-consuming. The living trust will allow beneficiaries to get the assets on a faster track. With a living trust, there is no need for the case to be part of the public record as it is with a will. Since a living trust can be expensive, the individual circumstances will dictate whether this is a preferable option. If it is a simple estate and there are no concerns about a will contest, then it might not be cost-effective and wise to have a living trust.

When weighing alternatives for an estate plan, it is of paramount importance to have experienced legal help. A lawyer who specializes in estate planning can provide information and guidance as to the wisest course of action and help with organizing the documents. With a living trust, a will or any other estate planning strategy, it is essential to speak to a qualified attorney.

Source: fool.com, "Is a Living Trust Right for You and Your Family?," Maurie Backman, June 27, 2017

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