Do you own a home? If so, you may want to consider creating a trust. A living trust is pretty much what the name implies. You create, with the help of a lawyer, a trust in which you deposit your assets. The trust lives on after you die, and whatever you put into it doesn’t have to be dealt with in a will or dragged through probate court.
The big advantage to making a living trust is that property left through the trust doesn’t have to go through probate court. In a nutshell, probate is the court-supervised process of paying your debts and distributing your property to the people who inherit it.
The average probate drags on for months before the inheritors get anything. And by that time, there’s less for them to get: In many cases, about 5% of the property has been eaten up by lawyer and court fees.
One of the great horror stories of American jurisprudence concerns Marilyn Monroe’s estate, which dwindled from a value of $1.6 million at her death in 1962 to a mere $101,000 when it finally emerged from probate 18 years later. Her heirs got a pittance, while the bulk of the assets got eaten up by legal fees.
Doesn’t matter how much you are worth, if it happened to Marilyn Monroe, it can happen to you.
Still, not everyone has to worry about probate, and some people don’t need a living trust at all. But if you think you might need a trust, then you are in the right place.
Different kinds of living trusts can help you avoid probate, reduce estate taxes, or set up long-term property management. For complete information on the different types of trusts available, and what you need to do to establish one, please visit Nolo Press. Nolo Press is your legal companion; they are the nation’s oldest and most respected provider of legal information for consumers and small businesses.