As the probate process becomes more streamlined across the country the use of living trusts is diminishing. There are still circumstances when a living trust can be a useful tool to settle your estate with as little disruption to your heirs as possible.
A living trust is a particularly useful tool to avoid the necessity of probate in multiple states it is true that the probate process is easier, that being said the expense of retaining council, fees as well as travel expense to several different states is a burden no one would want to leave to their loved ones. Living trusts also afford a measure of privacy as the assets are distributed sans probate and not a part of the public record.
To establish a living trust the title of the assets must be transferred to the trust. This is important because the disposition of any assets not titled to the trust will be forwarded to the probate court, the very process the trust is devised to bypass. The originator of the trust does retain full control over the assets as the trustee with that control being passed to the beneficiary at death. It is not uncommon, however, for a successor trustee to be designated for complex estates or where the inheritance will go to a minor. A successor trustee may also be utilized when an heirs ability to properly handle an inheritance is questioned.
Because living trusts are more complicated than a will, and the fact that they often involve ownership and disposition of real property it is best to consult an estate planning attorney to establish this type of trust. The Law Offices of James C. Shields are standing by to help you with all of your estate planning needs.