There are numerous types of Trusts out there, each designed to address different issues. With few exceptions, the type of Trust that I deal with is the Living Revocable Trust or what I call the "simple probate avoidance Trust". In my opinion, it addresses the needs of 80-90% of the people in the locale my office serves. When drafted well, these types of Trusts do an excellent job of providing a plan for the management of one's business affairs while he/she is incapacitated, addressing all forms of business to be tended to at death and immediately thereafter (i.e., keeping taxes, insurance, utlities and maintenance current for a home, car, etc.), distributing assets to designated beneficiaries, holding assets until various beneficiaries reach a certain age, or ages, upon which they are to receive their inheritance, and much more. In short, this type of Trust insures that when you are unable to tend to your business (due to incapacity or death), someone hand-picked by you is doing it, and they are following rules, guidelines, wants and wishes already set in place by you, as opposed to a probate judge determining who will be in charge of your person and/or your estate and what rules that person will be playing by. And, these types of Trusts operate in a very efficient manner from both a time, cost and 'headache' perspective..., and they are generally private to the extent you choose to keep them private.
Stated differently, a Trust is a mechanism that, like a Will, can also be used to make it known exactly who is to get what of your assets at your death. Unlike a Will, however, a Trust is generally much more useful in that it enables you to put conditions on how certain assets are to be distributed at your death, and it provides a very specific plan as to how your assets are to be used to care for you, your spouse, and/or your children should you become disabled and unable to tend to your own business. In this sense, a Trust not only plays a critical role at your death, but it can also play a vital role in ensuring your and your family’s well-being while you’re alive, but incapacitated. As a parent, Trusts are very helpful when leaving money and assets to your minor children since the money is managed by someone hand-picked by you and for the benefit of the children and not distributed to the children until they have reached a certain age or met certain conditions. And perhaps best of all, a Trust can allow for your estate to skip probate entirely!
Not everyone needs a Living Revocable Trust. But, for reasons stated above, the Living Revocable Trust is, perhaps, the most popular estate planning tool of all.
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