Does the thought of probate concern you? If you have a will that is outdated or incomplete, your loved ones could wait months, sometimes years, before your assets are released to help support them after you die. If you want to prepare an estate plan that will streamline the probate process or avoid it altogether, your best bet is to go with a trust.
What Is a Trust?
A trust is an estate planning document that lives on after you die. Instead of your estate going into probate, all your assets are held within the trust. This means that nothing changes upon death and your loved ones will not have to go through probate court.
Some of the documents in a trust can include the following:
- Power of Attorney: You can appoint a medical power of attorney to make decisions for you if you are incapacitated and unable to make sound decisions regarding surgery or treatment plans. You can also choose a financial power of attorney who will have access to your bank accounts to pay your bills.
- Naming Beneficiaries: Use the trust to outline who receives what after you die. You can write letters and detail your intent in choosing each beneficiary. This will also help avoid probate. The more specific you are about your heirs, the less room for argument.
- Guardians for Minor Children: Include the chosen guardians for your children if both parents were to pass away. Knowing that the trustee will be in charge of the document can make this official, so your children do not end up being raised by family members whom you do not wish to raise them.
- Disbursement Schedule for Beneficiaries: One of the benefits of a trust is being able to include instructions for doling out funds. You can stipulate that the beneficiary is a specific age before receiving money. Or, they can receive payments after each year of completion of college.
When you have all your instructions in place, your loved ones will not have to suffer to make ends meet while they are waiting for probate. Creating a trust is one of the most loving gifts to those you leave behind after death.