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How Many People Have an Estate Plan?
According to AARP, only 4 in 10 American adults have a will or trust; about 58 percent of baby boomers and 81 percent of those over the age of 72, with most adults between the ages of 18 and 53 avoiding the issue altogether. These results indicate that we do tend to face the reality that we need a will or trust as we age, although it can be just as important for younger adults to consider estate planning as well. The most common reasons given for the lack of estate planning are “haven’t gotten around to it,” and “don’t have sufficient assets to leave to anyone.”
Is a Trust the Best Estate Planning Tool for You?
Many people in Kettering associate trusts with the very wealthy, when, in fact, a trust could be the right option for your specific situation. While both a will and a trust are useful estate planning documents, they are different in certain ways (however can be used together for a complete estate plan). A trust takes effect as soon as it is created, while a will does not take effect until your death. A will appoints a legal representative to carry out your wishes, and, essentially dictates who will receive your assets, while a trust can be extremely useful in distributing property now, when you die, or at some point after your death. A trust can benefit most people, although if you have minor children you will also want to have a will in place to name a guardian for them in the event of your death. In many cases, a will and a trust can complement one another, ensuring every eventuality is covered.
The Many Benefits of a Trust
A Kettering, Ohio trust allows a trustee (which can be you while you are alive and not incapacitated) to hold the legal titles to properties for your beneficiaries. Beneficiaries can be those who receive income from the trust during their lives and those who receive whatever assets remain when the first “set” of beneficiaries die. Perhaps the primary benefits of a trust over a will are privacy and time. A will must pass through probate, which then becomes public record, while a trust does not have to go through probate, therefore is private. Further, while probate can take months, or even a year or more to complete, a trust takes effect immediately following your incapacitation or death. A trust is also more likely to provide tax benefits for your beneficiaries after your death.
In the event a person comes forward to contest the distribution of assets, a living trust is much more likely to hold up against such a contest than a will. Although a trust is more expensive initially than a will—because it is more complex—those costs are often more than made up in tax savings. Should you become ill or incapacitated, the person you choose as successor trustee will be able to step in and manage your affairs without court intervention. Further, since a living trust is revocable, you can dispute an implication of incapacitation, maintaining control over your own affairs. When your Kettering trust is drawn up correctly, by an experienced Kettering estate planning attorney, it becomes a clear plan to deal with all your assets, ensuring your loved ones are provided for.
In the end, a trust gives you peace of mind, knowing that should you become incapacitated through an accident or an illness, your assets will continue to be managed in the ways you would want them to be managed. You will know that those you would not wish to inherit your assets will not, and those you choose will inherit without a hitch. You may want to discuss a “pour-over will” with your Kettering estate planning attorney; when used in conjunction with a living trust a pour-over will can “catch” any assets which may have inadvertently been left out.
Having a Living Trust Prepared
If you have decided it is time to do some estate planning, the best way to begin is to take an inventory of your assets and think about who you would want to inherit those assets, as well as who you would choose as a successor trustee. Next, contact an experienced Kettering, Ohio estate planning attorney at Lovett & House Co., LPA for an appointment. Our highly experienced estate planning lawyers will listen carefully to your needs and concerns, then will help you determine if a trust is right for you. If a trust is the right estate planning tool for your specific situation, we will professionally prepare your trust, answering any questions you may have. Contact a Lovett & House estate planning attorney today and make a positive investment for your loved ones.