“What Took Me So Long?”
When clients finally commit to getting a Living Trust estate plan, that is what I hear the most, “I have no idea what took me so long to do this.” After doing this work for three decades, I know why. It is just what we do. When we are young, we are immortal and bulletproof. We have a life to live, a family to raise, good times, other priorities. The list goes on and on.
You know the problem with that thinking. Life is too uncertain. We have all lost someone, and it was always too soon. Tragedy strikes at any age. And if you are single or married and own property, you already have something to protect. Married with young kids? You owe it to them to not leave their custody, future care, and financial security completely up for grabs and in the control of the court system.
Before we know it, your career is winding down, and you still do not have a plan in place. Even in retirement, there seem to be other priorities, though the wakes and funerals are a constant reminder of our mortality. And at this stage, our mortality is what holds us back. We just don’t want to think about it, and we certainly don’t want to plan for our death.
“This is Such a Relief”
When clients make it to the office and sign their completed Living Trust estate plan, relief is the word I hear the most – almost every time. No matter how long we put it off, it is always in the back of our minds, and most likely one spouse is reminding the other – “We have to get this done.” There is no better feeling than getting it done. Now, you can go on with the business of living. You rarely, if ever, have to think about, much less make any changes to a trust once you sign it. It does not complicate your life and you do not need assistance when you buy property or open new bank accounts.
What is a Living Trust and Why is it so Popular?
There is only so much detail I can give you in a short article about Living Trusts, and I encourage you to visit my website for answers to your questions and for a detailed brochure you can view or download. Visit the Estate Planning Section and the page The Facts About Living Trusts, or copy and paste this link, http://www.tuohylawoffices.com/living-trust-chicago/
Basically, a Revocable Living Trust is a written, legal document that allows you to privately and efficiently pass your assets (real property, bank accounts, stock, saving certificates, personal property, etc.) to your family, friends or charitable organizations after your death – outside of Probate Court.
- At the creation of your trust, all of your assets will be transferred from your name and titled in your trust.
- You retain unlimited access to and full control of your assets during your lifetime while you have your capacity.
- A Revocable Living Trust allows you to appoint someone of your choice (as Successor Trustee) to manage your assets after your death or during your incapacitation.
- It may be amended or revoked at any time as long as you are mentally competent.
- Your assets and belongings will be distributed privately and efficiently to your beneficiaries, under the terms that you have established within your trust.
- A Will must be probated. The rule is no one can legally sign your name. Therefore, at your death, or incapacitation, all assets in your name are subject to the full probate process, which averages 18 months and is costly.
- A Living Trust completely avoids probate.
- A Living Trust estate plan includes both Health Care and Financial Power of Attorney documents.
This blog entry has been created for information and planning purposes. It is not intended to be, nor should it be substituted for, legal advice, which turns on specific facts, as well as laws in specific jurisdictions. No reader of this blog should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this blog without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the reader’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.