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Advantages and Disadvantages of a Living Trust

Posted by attorney Ross Sussman

The Advantages of a Revocable Trust are . . .

  • The Trust avoids Probate, but only for the assets that have been transferred to the Trust.
  • If you own real estate in another State, you can avoid Probate in that State if the property is transferred to the Trust.
  • The Trust avoids Guardianship Proceedings if you become disabled.
  • The Trust is a private document. It is not required to be filed in Probate. Your assets and how they are distributed are not made public as they would in a Probate proceeding.
  • The Trust can be changed at any time. You can change your Trustee, your Beneficiaries, and how the Trust will distribute your property both during your life and after your death.

The Disadvantages of a Revocable Trust are . . .

  • Sometimes, there is an easier way to distribute your assets such as joint ownership, beneficiary designations, and similar arrangements. But these must be coordinated with the potential Estate Taxes.
  • There are more documents involved with a Trust as opposed to simply signing a Will.
  • Because of the planning and drafting of documents to transfer your assets to the Trust, the cost is more than a Will.
  • Sometimes, assets are overlooked and not transferred to the Trust. So, if the non-Trust assets exceed $50,000, a Probate will be required to distribute those assets unless those assets are in joint tenancy with another or have a beneficiary designation.

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