A last will and testament is an estate planning document that can allow you to determine how your estate assets are to be distributed. Additionally, it can be used to put into writing how you would want your affairs to be handled when you die. However, last wills and testaments could lead to disputes among heirs, including the ones you decided to appoint or disinherit. A family member, for example, could contest your will, with undue influence or lack of testamentary capacity as possible grounds. Working with a reliable estate planning lawyer in Vancouver is one way to ensure that issues related to your estate are handled well.
When you create a trust, on the other hand, you create a fiduciary relationship between a trustor and a trustee. At the core of setting up a revocable living trust is appointing a loved one, bank, or trust company to manage trust assets. These could include any real property, personal property, or bank account of the grantor.
An estate plan determines how the estate assets of a decedent shall be managed after death. When drafting a will or establishing a trust, however, supervision of a legal expert is crucial. If you are considering this estate planning option, consult with competent Vancouver estate planning lawyers for legal advice.
This article will focus on why a trust you create can be more ideal than a last will and testament. Included here are the following reasons:
- The grantor keeps control of trust property while he or she is still alive
- They help the beneficiary of a trust avoid probate
- Your trustee or co-trustee can do a lot of things for you
- You can benefit from certain provisions of pertinent trust law
1. The grantor keeps control of trust property while he or she is still alive
If you opt to have a trust created, you can benefit from the fact that the legal document involved can be amended or revoked when needed, essentially throughout the remainder of your life. Individuals who establish a trust get to control their assets, but this also implies that such should be properly managed by the trustee, both during your lifetime and beyond.
2. They help the beneficiary of a trust avoid probate
Revocable trusts can help with avoiding probate. Under relevant state law, since assets of the deceased person are owned by the trust, beneficiaries of the trust need not go to court and have the estate probated. This is important because the probate process for transferring or distributing assets can be quite complicated.
3. Your trustee or co-trustee can do a lot of things for you
Trustees appointed by creating a trust are primarily tasked to manage trust assets, but they may also be able to manage financial affairs without the need for a durable power of attorney. In addition to this, a revocable living trust can also give another person the authority to make decisions for you, particularly if you become incapacitated or disabled.
4. You can benefit from certain provisions of pertinent trust law
This estate planning tool can also help minimize estate taxes, particularly through a credit shelter trust that is established when you pass away. Such a credit shelter trust helps in reducing what is taxed for estates that are past estate tax exclusions. Additionally, trusts can provide better asset protection compared to other legal documents.
Deciding on what estate planning documents to set up
If you are planning to set up a trust, it helps to have a hands-on Vancouver estate planning lawyer supervising you. He or she can help explain how to create such an estate planning document and how the state and the federal government will deal with a decedent with no estate transfer plan.
In many ways, a living trust will be advantageous for your surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, or any trust beneficiary you designate. Trust documents essentially streamline the process of transferring estate property in trust. It is, however, important to be aware of relevant processes, such as taxation and revocation of a trust document.
Some would still consider creating a will as a better option, specifically if deciding on the guardianship of minor children is involved. Depending on the circumstance, making a will can indeed better protect both the children and the inheritance involved. It depends on the situation and your goals.
If you are looking into the process of setting up a trust, it is helpful to get relevant estate planning information before proceeding. For legal questions on the different types of trusts or the advantages of a revocable or irrevocable living trust over a last will and testament, contact us right now.
Call us at Robert Russell Law Office for a consultation with a seasoned Vancouver estate planning attorney. Avoid mistakes by consulting with a professional from a trusted estate planning law firm.