5 Benefits of a Living Trust

As your loved ones begin to age, it becomes the prime time to begin or follow up on your estate plan. An estate plan is highly beneficial in expressing your loved one’s interests and best wishes concerning their future. There are a variety of documents included within the estate planning process. One of these documents pertains to the living trusts, also known as a revocable trust. An Estate Planning Attorney can assist you in creating such a trust as part of your estate plan. This type of trust allows you to make edits and provisions at any point in time if need be. Individuals who file for a living trust will be eligible to avoid the lengthy and expensive probate process in New York. This trust is also beneficial in minimizing estate taxes and protecting the owner, as well as the beneficiaries of the designated trust. Another document involved within an estate plan is the will. This document conveys an individual’s wishes upon their death in regards to the distribution of their assets and the care of their minor children. Both documents are effective in ensuring that you and your loved ones are well prepared for your future by stating your wishes regarding personal finances and healthcare. An Estate Planning Attorney can help you understand which document is better for your specific circumstances in regards to drafting a will or a living trust. 

Benefits of a Living Trust vs Will

Living Trust:

A living trust is imperative as it positions all of your assets into one legal document for you to use during your lifetime. If you name yourself as a trustee you will be able to manage your trust and make any changes you believe are necessary if your trust is revocable. You will have the ability to distribute your assets to the designated beneficiaries without embarking upon the lengthy probate process. In the case that you become incapacitated and are unable to care for your own assets, this document allows you to appoint another individual to make decisions on your behalf. You may include your estates, cars, bank accounts, as well as other assets within this trust while ensuring that your wishes regarding these assets will be met even in the case of incapacitation or death. Once you have placed all of your assets in the trust, it is essential that you select a financial power of attorney. This document gives the agent you selected the ability to make financial decisions on your behalf. The individual creating the financial power of attorney is considered the principle and the person that individual selects is considered the agent. This document is especially beneficial in the case of a medical emergency, for while you are working on improving your health, your agent is working on paying your rent, bills, etc. It is possible to make your power of attorney active immediately, meaning the agent has the ability of making financial decisions for you even if you are not incapacitated and are still alive. This will allow your spouse as the selected agent to make decisions while you are away or are medically unwell. You also have the ability to make your power of attorney effective upon the case of a specific event taking place. This option makes you responsible for making all of the financial decisions yourself until you are physically unable to do so. These financial documents are key to ensuring that your assets are handled exactly in the manner you would want them to be handled, while giving you financial independence for as long as possible. A living trust, also known as a revocable trust, holds your assets during your lifetime and then transfers the assets to your beneficiaries when the time comes. The most important aspect of this trust is that it can be changed or canceled at any point in time based on your personal preferences. Here are 5 benefits of drafting a living trust:

#1 Benefits of a Living Trust- Avoiding Probate:

The Probate process in New York state is an extremely lengthy and costly process that should be avoided at all costs in order ro save both time and money. Probate is the process of proving the validity of a decedent's Last Will and Testament in the Surrogate Court, which only begins to take place after the decedent passes away. Avoiding probate allows for a faster distribution of assets to your heirs without having  to add any additional expenses to the estate. This would be especially beneficial if you own property in another state because the property would not be subject to the probate process in that state. Avoiding probate is a great benefit when it comes to conserving your time, money, and energy in ensuring that everything takes place in an effective timely manner. 

#2 Benefit of a Living Trust- Saving Money:

In addition to avoiding the probate process with the use of a living trust, such trust can also save you money in the case that the distribution is contested. Creating a living trust is initially more expensive than drafting a last will and testament, however, in the end this trust will save you the most money. The living trust will require you to transfer ownership of your property to the trust. A living trust may potentially provide savings for married couples in the form of a joint living trust, which is a monetary benefit to creating a living trust. It is worth paying the extra money to ensure that you can make changes to your trust because you never know what could happen in the future, whether your income changes or you make a grand purchase. 

#3 Benefit of a Living Trust- Protection of Privacy:

Due to the fact that a living trust does not go through the probate process, this document remains private from the public.  This means that it would be impossible for others to search up the distribution of your estate and breach your privacy without your specific consent. Once an individual’s legal assets proceed through probate, the documents instantly become available for public access.  This can be avoided through the creation of a living trust.

#4 Benefit of a Living Trust- Assists in the case of Incapacitation:

A living trust is well equipped for the event of incapacitation, as the selected trustee will step in to manage your affairs without any intervention by the court. This is imperative because during this time you may be unable to make any decisions on your own as a result of personal health and wellbeing. However, despite being unable to make your decisions independently, all of your assets are still safe and are being handled according to your best wishes. Additionally, since the trust is revocable, you are able to dispute the implication of an incapacitated claim and regain control of your own affairs.

#5 Benefit of a Living Trust- Provides Certainty and a Peace of Mind:

A living trust guarantees an extent of control over your future, as you are guaranteed that your best interests will be adhered to in regards to the management of your assets. This can be very beneficial by preventing you from accidentally disinheriting someone and can provide care for a loved one with special needs or a disability. Your estate will be handled in regards to your wishes and your future is securely planned to ensure the best outcome occurs. This provides peace of mind for both you and your loved ones because everything is clearly outlined and detailed in regards to your future.

Selecting the Better Option- Living Trust or Will:`

A will serves to identify your loved one’s wishes regarding their property in the case of their passing. This document outlines their best interests as the testator, for they are able to select their heirs and what each heir will receive. In doing so, the individual will select an executor who will be responsible for distributing the assets. The testator should be aware of the networth of their assets, aware of their children and spouse, understand the nature of the document they are about to sign, etc. A will has no effect on your property while you are still alive and begins to take action only upon your passing. A will does not have any privacy, as it becomes a public record that can be accessed by all. Additionally, a will must go through the lengthy and expensive probate process that many aim to avoid in order to save money. 

Similar to a will, a living trust will require you to transfer assets to your beneficiaries upon your death. This document may be changed, edited, and even canceled during the life of the trustor. A living will does not require probate court, thus preventing the information from joining public records. Your property may immediately be passed to your named beneficiaries, as you do not have to wait for the lengthy probate process to come to a close. This document is convenient in that you are able to make changes with complete ease to reflect your current financial or family circumstances.

For further Estate Planning inquiries please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at 718-333-2394 to best prepare for your future in selecting an attorney that works best for your needs.