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How a revocable living trust can help you avoid probate

Last week we discussed how a trust can be a good way to help a child or another loved one who has an addiction or other problem that must be recognized in estate planning. Today, we would like to discuss how a certain type of trust can help all of your heirs by making the estate administration process much easier.

A revocable living trust is an excellent estate planning tool for those who not only want to make their wishes known, but who also want to make things easy on their heirs. There are three main reasons why many people choose to include a revocable living trust in their estate plans:

  1. Avoid probate. Unlike a will on its own, a revocable living trust does not have to go through probate. Probate can last months or even years, and a decedent's assets cannot be distributed until the end of the process. Skipping the whole thing will not only make for happier heirs, but there will be a lesser chance of litigation.
  2. Flexibility. A revocable living trust allows a person to get very specific in his or her wishes, down to who will get what and when.
  3. Privacy. A revocable living trust is a private document that will be kept hidden from the public eye. A will, on the other hand, is not. A person's will and the probate proceedings related to it will all become public record. Anyone could see your will and the assets you bequeathed through it.

Whether you are considering including a trust in your estate plan or already have one, it is extremely important to ensure that it is created properly and in a way that will hold up in court. A well-crafted trust can be a valuable estate planning tool for many people in Florida and elsewhere.

Source: TCPalm, "The advantages of a revocable living trust," Robert Schwartz, Dec. 10, 2013

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