We all want what’s best for our families, and one of the best ways to ensure their future success is to put time and effort into the estate planning process. If you’re like most people, you probably want to ensure that the right person or people receive your home and other assets once you pass away.
Most real estate is non-probate, which means that it automatically passes to your heirs. While this might sound like a good thing, it can sometimes create problems for the family. If you want to make things as easy as possible for your loved ones, you may want to consider placing your home in a revocable living trust.
Revocable living trusts can help you avoid probates and probate court, provide greater flexibility in estate planning, prevent family disputes and challenges to the estate, keep your financial information private, and help manage your assets after your death. In this blog, attorney Ben Weaver explains what a revocable living trust is and how it can help you and your family. Let’s dive in…
What is a Revocable Living Trust?
A revocable living trust is an agreement about your property ownership that gives you the flexibility of adjusting the terms and conditions or revoking the trust at any time. You can add any assets or properties to the trust and continue to enjoy the benefits during your lifetime. After you pass away, assets and funds are administered based on the terms you set.
How Do I Establish a Revocable Living Trust?
Setting up a revocable trust is simple. And if you’re a property owner, it’s never too early to set one up. You need a written declaration nominating a trustee to manage the trust and its real estate property, which belongs to the grantor (you). The trustee can be anyone – an individual, bank, or trust company. You may act as the trustee during your lifetime, with the nominated trustee taking up administration in the event of your death.
Once the trust is set up, you can transfer any assets and real estate you want to hold in the trust. You will lose ownership of the assets but can continue to use and control them during your lifetime.
Can I Substitute My Will for a Trust?
No, you cannot. While both are used for the management of assets, a trust has its advantages and disadvantages. Your trust will have certain assets and terms for administering their split and distribution. However, any assets not placed in the trust will not be covered by these provisions. You will need the will to accommodate all your other assets and their provisions. For managing assets going to any minors, you will need an executor to manage their share till they come of age.
Benefits of Putting Your Home in a Revocable Living Trust
At this point, you may be asking yourself, “I have a will, why do I need a trust? Aren’t they the same thing?” All estate planning documents don’t serve the same purpose. And honestly it’s a great idea to have both anyways just in case. Here are some key benefits of setting up a revocable living trust for your estate.
1. Avoid Probates and Probate Court
Avoiding probates is the main reason why individuals transfer their homes to a revocable living trust. When you pass away, the distribution of assets is based on your will (we’re assuming here you have no trusts set up). While the process is relatively simple for other assets, it can be more difficult for real estate property.
A revocable living trust is a great way to avoid probate court. Probate court can be a lengthy and expensive process, so avoiding it altogether can save you a lot of time and money. Spending time in court is certainly the last thing you want to put your family through after you pass away. If you have no living trust your loved ones will be required to endure the legal process of administering the deceased’s estate based on the will’s terms, under court supervision. You will need to file the will in court in the county where the deceased lived – petitioning them to approve the will and grant the executor permission to administer the will. The courts will announce the will is valid and then allow the will to probate.
Any assets in the trust are administered directly based on the trust’s terms. They do not require a will or probate for the execution of the terms. With a trust, your assets can be administered faster and inexpensively, and you can save you from spending money on court fees. Additionally, property in trust has greater precedence over any in the will. Placing all your real estate in a trust helps you bypass all probate proceedings, making the disposition of assets smoother.
2. Greater Flexibility
A revocable trust is a relatively flexible document offering grantors the right to change the trust terms during their lifetime. You can also remove assets from the trust or add to them, and even give up the trust any time you choose! A revocable living trust can also allow you to give special instructions about the property distribution and feel confident that your wishes will come to fruition after your death.
3. No Challenges to the Estate
The will can be contested by disgruntled relatives or acquaintances who wish to inherit a portion of your estate. These challenges and disputes are avoided with trust. With a trustee, your funds and house are exclusively managed to benefit those listed. You can also easily disinherit anyone who poses disputes or challenges to the terms’ trust.
4. Greater Privacy
A revocable living trust can also help you keep your affairs private. Probate court is a public process, so all of your assets and debts will become public record. If you want to keep your finances private, setting up a revocable living trust is a good way to do that as your assets and distributions will be kept discrete.
5. Better Asset Management
Revocable trusts are an estate planning tool and can be a great choice for managing your assets. You can set aside any assets you wish to keep separate. This is particularly useful for married couples with a lot of property before marriage. They can keep those assets separated from joint ones and can dictate their terms accordingly. The trust also enables the management of assets professionally over generations. It can help you with wealth accumulation and management. Since you can dictate terms about the withdrawals, your assets can continue to grow and accumulate over generations.
6. Power of Attorney Designation
A living trust can take care of any minors who stand to inherit your estate. You can also control how the guardian uses the assets and their spending habits – ensuring that your children are secured financially and provided for. The power of attorney also enables the nominated person to take over and manage your estate on your behalf when you become incapable of doing so during your lifetime. The appointed trustee automatically obtains the power of attorney to manage any financial and health-related affairs.
Establish Your Revocable Living Trust with 23 Legal
A revocable living trust can provide many benefits for you and your family, including avoiding probate, maintaining privacy, and managing assets after your death. While life after death isn’t something most of us like to spend our time imagining, your loved ones will thank you for taking the time to set this up. If you have an aging parent or grandparents, we recommend you share this information with them! Our firm can help guide your family through the process.
Attorney Ben Weaver is here to help you create a revocable living trust that meets your family’s unique needs. Trust 23 Legal in providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones. Keep in mind, a revocable trust is not right for everyone. As with any estate planning tool, we can advise you if trust planning will help address your individual situation.
If you’re looking for help with estate planning in Illinois, you’ve come to the right place! Whether you need to create a living will, set up your estate plan, or establish a trust, attorney Ben Weaver at 23 Legal can assist you. He has many years of experience assisting individuals throughout Illinois’ northwest suburbs and Chicagoland. Check out our resourceful YouTube channel for plenty of tips on how to navigate real estate matters!
Are you looking to set up a revocable living trust as part of your estate management plan?
Maybe you need to create a Living Will or update your Power of Attorney?
Connect with real estate attorney Ben Weaver at 23 Legal today: (847) 447-6004
Why Choose 23 Legal
23 Legal offers Real Estate and Estate Planning legal services to individuals, families, community associations and small business owners throughout Chicagoland. We know how intimidating “the law” can be. In fact, when most people think of law offices, they think of stuffy leather chairs, huge wooden desks and pompous lawyers who charge outrageous fees. That’s not us! We believe in 1-to-1; the same lawyer should work with you all the way through. Whether you have an estate planning issue, family trust concern, or you have a legal problem in regard to a new home, business, real estate or remodel, you need a lawyer who cares. That’s where Ben comes in! We are great listeners; more than that, we are lawyers who believe that our clients always come first.