ARTICLE: Avoiding Probate with a Revocable Living Trust

Avoiding Probate with a Revocable Living Trust

A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that can help avoid probate for assets held within the trust. Probate is the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate, which includes validating the will (if there is one), identifying and appraising assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Here’s how a revocable living trust can avoid probate:

  1. Ownership of Assets: When you create a revocable living trust, you transfer ownership of your assets from yourself individually to the trust. The trust becomes the legal owner of the assets, and you are the trustee, retaining full control over the assets during your lifetime.
  2. Avoidance of Probate for Trust Assets: Since the trust owns the assets, they are no longer considered part of your individual estate. As a result, when you pass away, these trust assets are not subject to probate because they are not owned individually by you at the time of your death.
  3. Successor Trustee: In your trust document, you designate a successor trustee who will take over the management of the trust and distribution of assets to beneficiaries upon your passing. This allows for a smooth transition of control and avoids the need for court involvement.
  4. Privacy: Unlike probate, which is a public process, a revocable living trust allows for greater privacy. Trust administration occurs outside of the public court system, keeping your personal and financial affairs confidential.
  5. Faster Distribution: Probate can be a time-consuming process, often taking several months or even longer to complete. A revocable living trust allows for a more efficient distribution of assets to beneficiaries, often occurring without the delays associated with probate.
  6. Multiple Jurisdictions: If you own property in different states, having a revocable living trust can help avoid the need for separate probate proceedings in each state, simplifying the estate administration process.

It’s essential to keep in mind that a revocable living trust can only avoid probate for assets that have been properly transferred into the trust during your lifetime. Any assets that are solely in your name at the time of your passing will likely be subject to probate.

Work with an Experienced Corning Estate Planning Attorney
Roth Elder Law, PLLC, can guide you through the process of creating and funding your revocable living trust properly, and ensure that your estate plan effectively avoids probate and aligns with your specific needs and goals. Call our office at 607-962-6162  or complete this intake form and we will be in touch to schedule a meeting.

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We at Roth Elder Law, PLLC, believe in providing services in a way that clients can easily understand and meaningfully participate in designing and maintaining their estate plan for their loved ones, as well as be assured that their plan will be administered according to their wishes.