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attorney Todd M. Villarrubia

Todd Villarrubia

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Do You Need a Living Trust?

Posted On: July 3, 2024

By: Todd Villarrubia

Todd M. Villarrubia, an authority in wealth planning and preservation, brings over 30 years of in-depth, experience to the complex challenges of safeguarding familial and individual wealth. Based in New Orleans, Louisiana, his expertise is not only recognized in the local community but also reverberates within the legal industry.
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Living trusts are private, changeable and efficient. Are they right for you?

Trusts have been called the Swiss army knife of estate planning, and rightly so. There are trusts for every purpose in estate planning, including the living trust, also known as the revocable trust. As described in the article “Is a Living Trust Really the Best Way to Pass an Inheritance to Your Family?” from The Motley Fool, you start by creating a living trust, then retitle assets to move them into the trust. When you die, assets in the trust are distributed according to the directions in the trust.

Trusts protect assets in ways last wills and testaments can’t. This is especially so if your wishes for the assets change during your lifetime.

One of the most significant advantages of trusts over wills is the avoidance of having the assets in the trust go through probate. While probate is better in some jurisdictions than others, in general, probate takes some time and requires the involvement of the court. In the process, your will becomes part of the public record. Anyone who wants to can read the will, grab the information you may have wanted to keep private and contact heirs to solicit them. That includes creditors and potential litigants.

The living trust keeps your private business private. If discretion is important, or if you have a family with a history of battling over assets, a trust could be a good move for you.

Trusts can also be used to give very specific information about what you want to happen to your assets. You can tell the trustee to provide gradual distributions of assets to beneficiaries over extended periods or stipulate the conditions they need to meet to receive an inheritance.

Trusts are also used to manage assets if incapacity strikes. A trustee can be appointed, and the trust can be structured so that if you cannot manage your own affairs, they can use assets to pay household expenses and medical bills and manage the investments or other assets the trust owns.

Whether or not to create a living trust depends upon your own unique situation. What type of trust to establish also depends upon many different factors. An experienced estate planning attorney who understands the pros and cons of different types of trusts is your best resource when making this decision.

Remember that the trust needs to work alongside other aspects of your estate plan. If you have a last will and testament including certain assets and then place the assets in the trust, the directions of the trust will take precedence. You can leave whatever you want to whomever you want, but what is owned by the trust will be distributed regardless of the direction of the will.

Your best move is to contact an estate planning attorney and have them create your will and trusts in tandem for optimal results.

Reference: The Motley Fool (June 2, 2024) “Is a Living Trust Really the Best Way to Pass an Inheritance to Your Family?”

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