What Is A Living Trust?

March 08, 2017

A living trust is a legal document that places your assets into a trust for your benefit (you’re the trustee) while you’re alive and then transfers those assets, via your “successor trustee,” to beneficiaries after you die or become disabled.

Why should I get a living trust?

A living trust could have some advantages for you over other ways to manage your estate. Here are the benefits: 

Saves time and money in the probate process – A living trust names a trustee who can immediately take care of your end-of-life affairs—like paying for funeral costs and distributing property to heirs—without having to wait on the probate judge. Less waiting time means less probate costs and more savings.

Offers more protection if challenged – A living trust is less likely to be challenged in court than a simple will. It’s harder for the challengers, because they would have to prove you were coerced into signing the documents and forced to go through the whole process of funding the trust.

Protects privacy better – Because a will is a public document, anyone can get a copy of it after your death from the county records. But a living trust is totally private. With a trust, no one can know the details without the trustee sharing that information.

What can I put in a trust?

  • Real estate
  • Bank and savings accounts
  • Vehicles
  • Art and jewelry

The CARES Act has made some considerable changes to Legacy and Estate Planning. There are potential changes to estate tax exemptions, taxation of grantor trusts, elimination of step-up basis and the list goes on.

You may be best served by taking immediate action with regard to gift and estate tax planning in order to maximize after tax dollars getting to your beneficiaries. This planning needs to occur sooner rather than later.