Reasons why you might choose a living trust to hold and distribute your assets
You might be familiar with the probate process, as well as methods to avoid the often difficult process of settling a decedent’s estate. This is a primary reason why people choose living trusts, which can hold your assets during your lifetime and then transfer them directly to beneficiaries when you die. As with any estate planning matter you should have a sound understanding of probate before deciding how to proceed. There are several reasons why you might opt to minimize or bypass probate, such as:
- Probate can be expensive — Guiding an estate through probate can be costly, involving the services of a lawyer, court fees and personal representative expenses. Larger estates can generate greater costs and demand more time from lawyers or other professionals.
- Probate is often time-consuming — If the estate is complex, with many diverse assets, business assets or property in states other than Tennessee, probate can drag on for months, and sometimes years. There might be ancillary proceedings in other states. You will need to file tax returns for the deceased and the estate, and you may need to pay ongoing expenses like property tax and insurance.
- Probate is not private — Another drawback to probate is that the process produces a public record in the court filings. If you have a business or another financial matter that you would rather choose to keep private, using some other method to transfer assets, such as a trust can protect you and your family's privacy.
No single estate planning option is ideal for everyone. I can help you determine exactly the right options to choose, and advise you of the advantages and disadvantages of estate planning strategies that are available. You want a plan that is right for you, and I work to ensure that is the estate plan you receive.