When one dies (with or without a will) and there are assets to be distributed to family, in most instances the law requires the family to make a filing with the county probate court where the deceased lived at the time of death.
Why Avoid Probate Court?
The probate process can be expensive, long and complicated. Additionally, everything involved in the probate process will be public record including:
- the will,
- the amount of the deceased’s assets,
- the family receiving distributions, and
- any family squabbles that may occur.
To avoid probate, a person or a married couple can choose to put their belongings in a living trust.
What is a Living Trust?
A living trust is an instrument that allows one to distribute the assets after death in any legal manner available and completely avoid probate court and all the strings attached.
A living trust is seen in the eyes of the law as a separate entity from the person. So, after death, the assets in trust continue as they did before.
Upon one’s death, the living trust will provide for what happens to the assets. They can be distributed to family, charity or any person or organization pursuant the trust’s terms.
In some instances, the assets will stay in trust for a period of time for things like the care of an elderly or special needs person. One can also delay the distribution of assets until a child or other person reaches an age at which the person making the living trust believes to be most beneficial, whether that be at age 21, 30 or even older.
A living trust will save funds compared to probate. While the initial set up cost may seem above what is expected, this costs is well below the cost to probate a will.
A living trust is complex but relatively uncomplicated to set up. At Port Legal, we are experienced in creating Living Trusts for individuals and families.