Planning for the future is a great way to ease your anxiety and increase your confidence in ensuring that you, your loved ones, and your legacy will be in good hands, come what may. Whether you’ve already created an estate plan or you are just beginning to explore the process of putting one together, you may want to consider establishing a revocable living trust to avoid probate, provide for property management, and ensure that your estate plan remains private. Let’s take a look at the benefits of creating a living trust and how to initiate the process with an experienced Spokane Valley estate planning attorney.
Advantages of a Living Trust
Essentially, Washington residents may elect to make either their will or their revocable living trust the cornerstone of their estate plan. Each one has its advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to explore both options thoroughly before arriving at a decision. Creating a living trust offers several benefits. First, doing so can help your loved ones avoid the expense and delay of probate, as the successor trustee (appointed by you in advance) will oversee the transfer of the assets to the beneficiaries according to your instructions, avoiding the need for probate. If you own property in other states, the living trust will prevent the need for probate proceedings in these states. Another advantage of a living trust is that it allows you to prepare for your incapacity; the moment you become unable to manage your affairs, your appointed successor will step in on your behalf—no court proceedings necessary. Living trusts are often easier to amend than wills, and—unlike wills—living trusts are not required to be filed in court and made a part of the public record.
Steps to Establish a Living Trust in Washington State
If you are interested in creating a living trust, it’s a good idea to work with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to make sure you are taking all the necessary steps and completing each one accurately. First, you’ll create the trust itself by completing the necessary documents. Next, you’ll fund the trust by transferring property, such as real estate—which often requires additional steps—jewelry, securities, bank accounts, vehicles, and more to the trust. From there, you will still be able to manage the trust assets for the duration of your life. Should you become incapacitated, your successor trustee will step in to manage the trust. When you pass away, the trustee will pay the taxes and debts and will distribute the property among the beneficiaries. It’s important to note that you may decide to amend or revoke the trust at any time, should circumstances arise that may necessitate these actions.
Learn More About Living Trusts in Spokane Valley
Revocable living trusts are simply one option that you may explore when creating an estate plan. Generally, a living trust may not be right for you if you are still young and in good health, as you may wish to use a will and life insurance to protect your loved ones for now. If you have significant debt, probate may actually be a better option than a living trust. Whatever the specifics of your situation may be, consider speaking to an experienced estate planning lawyer to ensure that you understand the pros and cons of each estate planning strategy. Together, you can create a customized estate plan that can help you achieve your goals.
To learn more about your estate planning options in the Spokane Valley area, contact Legacy Law Group today at (509) 315-8087 to speak with a dedicated estate planning attorney.