Whether you’re just starting or nearing retirement, it’s important to know how probate works. Probate is the process of selling an estate after someone dies. This can be a time-consuming and complicated process for those left behind, but there are steps you can take to avoid it altogether by setting up a trust.
Prepare a Living Trust
A living trust is a legal document that allows you to control your assets and pass them on to your heirs after you die. It’s different from an estate plan in that it doesn’t require probate court approval, so it can be set up before death and easily transferred after death. The main benefit of setting up a living trust is that it eliminates the need for probate court proceedings—which can take at least six months before being finalized. And allows you more control over your finances and assets than if they were held directly by banks or other financial institutions.
How to Make a Living Trust?
It’s a simple way to pass money or property on to someone else without paying taxes, and it can be made out of any property: real estate, stocks, bonds, cars, or other vehicles—whatever you want! A living trust can also be used as an estate planning tool because it allows you to change beneficiaries later on if something unexpected happens (such as having children). If this happens, your original plan will still hold true – but if not, everything stays the same until death occurs when all the terms are fulfilled by default.
How does the Living Trust Works After Your Death?
After you die, the trust will carry out your wishes by:
- Appointing a trustee to manage your property. The trustee is in charge of taking care of all assets and paying bills and taxes on behalf of beneficiaries. The trustee also has authority over how those assets are distributed to beneficiaries after death (or disability).
- Giving access to the beneficiary(s) only when necessary for carrying out their duties as trustees. For example, suppose a beneficiary is ill or disabled. In that case, they may need access to certain accounts to pay bills, buy items at stores where they have access, manage money needed during treatment such as medications or doctors’ visits, etcetera.
- But no one else should have any knowledge about these accounts unless it’s necessary!
Do You Need a Lawyer to Create a Trust?
If you are creating a trust for yourself, there is no need to hire a lawyer. But if your situation is complex and you want the best protection possible, then it is recommended that you consult with an experienced family law attorney. The main reason why people choose to create a trust instead of leaving their assets in their name is that they want more control over how those assets are distributed after death or divorce.
With a simple trust document, such as revocable living trusts or irrevocable living trusts (which are very similar), there will be no probate proceedings necessary if the beneficiary dies before completing their life plan. But with complex estates with multiple beneficiaries and assets spread across multiple states/countries worldwide, it could take years before everything has been properly distributed among all parties involved.
Make Sure Your Home’s Title Is In Your Trust
Before you can transfer real estate into your trust, the title to your home must be in the trust. If you don’t have this, then any transfer of title will be subject to probate. You can transfer the title by having a new deed drawn up and recorded with the County Recorder’s Office. This document will contain information about who owns what property, including residential and non-residential properties (such as commercial buildings). It will also include details about whether there are any liens against that property; these could affect its value if not removed before selling or refinancing it later down the road.
The text above is for general informational purposes and should not be considered legal advice.
Mark Fishbein, Tucson Estate Planner with ALTA Tucson, specializes in Estate Planning, living trusts, and family legacy planning. Visit our website to seek professional help, and Follow us on Facebook.