Do you need a will or a revocable living trust?
In all likelihood, you need both.
Why You Need A Revocable Living Trust:
· Assets held in a revocable living trust are not subject to probate. Usually it is preferable to avoid subjecting your assets to the legal proceeding known as probate because it's expensive, time consuming and a matter of public record.
· A revocable living trust permits ongoing management of your assets. If you don't want your assets to be distributed upon your death because you're concerned that your children, for example, may not be mature enough to manage them yet, a revocable living trust permits a trustee chosen by you to manage your assets for your children until they're ready to do so for themselves.
· A revocable living trust may provide asset protection for beneficiaries. If properly structured, assets held in a revocable living trust may be protected from your children's creditors, including former spouses.
· A revocable living trust may avoid the need for having a conservatorship established for you. If you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated, a successor trustee may manage assets held in your revocable living trust on your behalf. However, if your assets are not held in trust and you have not appointed an agent under a durable power of attorney, your family will be forced to petition the court to appoint a conservator for you, which is a painful, complicated process that most of us wish to avoid.
Why You Need a Will:
· A will protects your assets from being subject to the laws of intestate succession. While a revocable living trust is preferable for holding your assets, it only governs those assets that are actually placed in the trust. Unfortunately, sometimes assets are inadvertently left out of a trust. However, your will governs any asset you own that is not otherwise provided for, thereby avoiding intestate succession.
· A will enables you to nominate a guardian for your minor children. If you have minor children, you should nominate a guardian for them, typically in your will, in the event that you don't survive until they reach age 18. Otherwise, the court might appoint a guardian for your children whom you do not approve of.
Please contact me at 323.654.9513 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to discuss your current estate plan.
Brooks Paley, J.D., LL.M.