Do I Need A Living Trust?

Surprisingly, whether you need a Living Trust does not depend on your net worth, but rather on your family structure, the kind of assets you have, who your beneficiaries are, and your goals for them.

A Living Trust will give you maximum flexibility, control and choices in planning your estate. It is a good choice if you want to avoid probate and protect your beneficiaries.

There are three main reasons you might want to avoid Probate:

1. Cost. Probate is expensive. Attorney’s fees are set by law, and are a percentage of the gross value of the estate.

2. Privacy. In a probate case private information about your beneficiaries and your assets is made public.

3. Control. Since probate is a court proceeding, you can lose control of how and when your assets are distributed.

WHAT IS A LIVING TRUST?

A Living Trust is a document that describes how your assets are to be handled while you are living and still competent, when you become incompetent, and after you pass away.

1. While you are alive and competent you can continue to have complete control over your assets.

2. If you should become incompetent the Trust says who should manage your assets, and how they should be managed and spent on your care.

3. After you pass away it says how your assets should be distributed, or held in trust for loved ones, and who is to have those responsibilities.

With a Living Trust, you avoid the cost of probate. Your personal information does not become part of a court record. You control how and when distributions are made. It can protect the assets of your beneficiaries who are disabled, have debt and spending problems, divorce or spending issues, are financially inexperienced, or struggle with substance abuse.

With a Living Trust, you can simplify your estate and make it easier for your loved ones, while saving money and protecting those who need it. This planning tool can give you peace of mind and protect the ones you love.

100 Days to the end of the year!

Not only is September 22 Elephant Appreciation Day, and the day the SF Giants clinched the National League West and a berth in the play offs, and the first day of autumn but it also marks another milestone in the annual calendar. It is exactly 100 days until the end of the year!

What a nice round number. And it reminds us this is the perfect time to think about what you want to accomplish by year’s end. With a full 100 days you have enough time to accomplish something significant, and the deadline that year-end represents may give you the incentive to actually get going and get it done.

One important task you may have put off is perfect for this time frame – getting your estate plan drafted or reviewed. The steps are pretty straightforward. Make a call to set up an appointment with an attorney, collect the documents you need and have a meeting, review the drafts and answer any questions the lawyer has, then return to the office to sign your documents. Of course sometimes there are other steps, and I’m not promising it won’t take a bit of time and effort, but you can do it. Here’s how….

Like any other task you have been putting off, breaking it up into manageable bites will make it easier. So take the first step – pick up the phone and make the appointment. And tell your attorney you have a goal of getting it done by the end of the year. Before you know it you’ll have a full set of documents in your hands. Knowing your family is going to be taken care of, and your intentions are going to be carried out will bring you peace of mind.  And it is a very nice holiday gift for you and your loved ones.