Estate, Trust, & Tax Planning Living Trust Probate What Is So Awful About Probate? What Happens Without a Will? What Happens With a Will? What Happens With a Living Trust? Maintain Control With A Living Trust Advantages of a Living Trust

Living Trust

Definition of a Living Trust

A living Trust is a legal document that allows you to manage your property while you are alive. After your death, it transfers your assets to beneficiaries you name, like a Will. But unlike a Will, a living Trust avoids probate at your death. Thus, it protects your privacy because a Trust is not subject to a public court proceedings like a Will is.

Who should have a Living Trust?

Anyone who owns titled assets and wants to protect their loved ones from the problems of court interference at their death or incapacity. Your age, the total value of your assets, and your marital status do not matter.

Difference Between a Will and a Living Trust

A Will does not avoid probate when you die. Your Will only becomes effective after you die. Since your Will affords no protection if you become incapacitated, the court could take control of your assets before you die.

On the other hand, a living Trust avoids probate. Plus, as you nominate your successor trustee, who takes over at your incapacity, you retain a measure of control over your assets.

You Should Have a Living Trust And a Will

If you die with a Trust, but have forgotten to put some assets in your Trust, a pour-over Will may "catch" them and direct them to your Trust. Because this still requires probate to be effective, you should not rely on your pour-over Will.