Many people are interested in the issue of avoiding probate, but in all likelihood that is not possible. Probate allows for all-encompassing coverage of disposing of both property and debts of the deceased, and no real alternative exists for this important legal process. You can, however, use another handy legal instrument to keep some of the estate property out of probate, and doing so holds many advantages. To learn more about using a revocable trust to keep property away from probate, read on.
Similar to a will in some ways.
A revocable trust resembles a will in two main aspects.
1. It names an administrator to oversee the instrument after the death of the owner. While a will calls someone in this role an executor, or personal representative, a revocable trust refers to this person as a trustee. As long as the owner of the trust is living, they are in charge of the trust. It is only upon the death of the trust's owner that the trustee comes into their role.
2. It names beneficiaries to inherit property. Any property that can be addressed in a will can also be addressed with a trust. Homes, cars, jewelry, pets, and more can be named specifically in a trust. Furthermore, you can name a beneficiary to receive certain items of property, just like in a last will and testament.
Better than a will in many ways.
Any property named in a will must be probated. That means that if you leave the funds in your savings account to Aunt Betty, she must wait several months for probate to be complete before she can get the money. With that same property named with a trust, however, Aunt Betty can take possession of that savings account almost immediately after the owner's death.
Additionally, a will is considered a public document once it is filed with the probate court. In some counties, a notice of probate is placed in newspapers alerting anyone curious enough to take a look at it. This practice often results in embarrassment for a grieving family that considers the contents of a will to be private. A trust, on the other hand, is absolutely private. It never needs to be made public and no one, even the beneficiaries, know the entire contents of the trust. As you can imagine, this sometimes can reduce the angst and competition among the beneficiaries, since no one really has to know what the others are inheriting.
Speak with an estate attorney, like Lynn Jackson Shultz & Lebrun PC, for more information about creating a revocable trust for your estate plan.