Should I Have a Living Trust?
When creating an estate plan, you have a lot of important decisions to make. What happens to your assets after you die depends on the choices you make now. Depending on your circumstances, creating a living trust in addition to your will can be your best option.
Most people know what a will is: a document that outlines how your property and other assets will be distributed after you die. It is signed, and you are able to adjust it as your situation changes. But what is a living trust, and how is it different from a will?
A living trust is created while you are alive, with the goal of helping your family and heirs avoid probate after your death. You can serve as your own trustee for as long as you are capable and name a trustee to take over after your incapacity or death. You should seriously consider having a living trust if:
- You have minor children.
- You have dependents with special needs.
- Your estate is subject to estate taxes.
- You want to keep your estate plans private for your family.
A living trust is especially useful for people with significant assets. However, because Ohio does not simplify the probate process by using the Uniform Probate Code, a living trust might be beneficial even for families of modest means.
A living trust has many advantages, including:
- Avoiding probate.
- Planning for your own incapacity.
- Controlling what happens to your assets after your die.
After the living trust document is created and notarized, you can begin transferring assets into your trust. The process sounds simple, but it can be complicated, depending on how much and what type of property you have. An experienced, detail-oriented attorney can help you draft a trust that represents your wishes.
A trust covers issues that a will does not, but having a living trust does not mean that you should not also have a will. If you don’t have a will, any property not included in your trust will pass to your relatives according to Ohio’s intestate laws.
A knowledgeable wills and trusts attorney can help you determine if a living trust is right for you. Contact Stubbins, Watson & Bryan Co., L.P.A. online to speak with an experienced lawyer at our Zanesville, Ohio office.