Humans spend a lifetime accumulating wealth, assets, and family heirlooms. Depending on many factors the specific amounts and items will vary drastically, but there’s no denying the importance of a personal estate. Despite this fact, 51% of Americans between ages 55 and 64 and 62% between 45 and 54 don’t have a will or living trust of any kind. Obviously, no one expects today to be their last day on this earth, but accidents can happen at any given moment. Even if you survive there’s the chance you become incapacitated and unable to legally designate your estate.
For these reasons the importance of estate planning attorneys can be crucial to help you get started in drafting the documents you need to ensure your wishes are carried out after death. Designating a power of attorney is a good start, but choosing a living trust over a will might be your best option. Here are three reasons why.
1.) Complex Finances: A living trust and traditional will are very similar in that they both essentially spell out how you want your estate divided, personal long term care, and funeral arrangements. The biggest difference is that if you only have a will your estate and assets will fall under probate law whereas a living trust bypasses this costly and slow process. This is perfect for someone with a substantial amount of wealth or complex finances spread out among a variety of sources.
2.) Unique Family/Personal Circumstances: Those with complex personal or family situations might be better off with a living trust as well. A revocable living trust for example can literally be revoked at any time. In a living trust you name a trustee, which basically plays the role of executor in a will. The trustee can also have access to managing funds and assets should you become incapacitated.
3.) Multi-State Estate: Unlike wills which can be subject to different laws depending on the state in which it was signed, living trusts will be valid regardless of where they were signed. This makes it much easier and convenient for people that have or plan to move before their ultimate death. Property doesn’t have to go through probate law either if placed in one.
It only takes as little as 10 to 15 minutes to draft a will and a living trust won’t take much, if any longer. It’s never to early to start planning for the future of your family and loved ones by establishing your estate allocations today.