Setting up a trust is one way to avoid probate. It is a fiduciary entity that names a third party (trust) or parties (trustees) to carry out a person’s wishes for their property and other assets after his or her death. When assets have been properly transferred to a revocable living trust, probate is avoided at death as the successor trustee(s), in effect, replace the probate court regarding the distribution of the decedent’s property.
Use of a living trust provides for continuity in the management of assets, and avoids probate in all states in which the decedent may have owned assets. In addition, avoiding probate by use of the revocable living trust helps retain a large degree of privacy for the deceased and their family, as property in a living trust is not a matter of public record. By establishing a living trust with an estate planning lawyer, you – rather than the court – choose who will manage your financial affairs.
How the Probate Process Differs When a Trust is in Place versus a Will
The creation of a trust has some significant benefits over a will. First, as mentioned above, the details of the trust remain private. Secondly, if the assets are titled in the name of the trust as they should be, the distribution of those assets can begin in a one – three month time period versus up to one year or longer for a will. Lastly, the one-time fee to create a trust is almost always significantly lower than the cost to probate a will.
Trustee Administration Responsibility
While administering a trust can be much easier than with a will, or with no will, it can still be overwhelming for the trustee. The estate may be rather large and have a variety of assets to deal with. The complexity involved may cause a competent trustee to believe he or she is not up to the task. Too often, family dynamics cause a lot of stress that trustees are unprepared or unwilling to handle. When these situations occur, the trustee or family may want an experienced attorney to step in and handle the administration.
Schedule a Consultation
The first step in discussing what assistance you might need in handling a trust administration is to schedule a free consultation with an experienced probate administration attorney. At Beck & Lenox in St. Charles, Missouri, our knowledgeable attorneys and legal staff are constantly working to help clients completely understand their options and make educated decisions that work for their unique situation. Contact our office today and let us provide you with peace of mind.