If you’ve been thinking about creating a Last Will and Testament and investing in estate planning then you’ve probably come across a lot of information on Living Trusts. Despite their association with the rich and elite, Living Trusts are not just for the wealthy according to experienced estate planning attorneys in New Jersey.
What is a Living Trust?
There are many different types of Living Trusts, each suited to different needs. Essentially, it is a legal document that dictates how your assets are to be divided up in the event of your passing. It is active as soon as it is created and only becomes effective after you pass away and your Last Will and Testament enters probate.
What are the benefits of a Living Trust?
The biggest difference between a Living Trust and your Will is that the first option bypasses the often costly, tax-heavy and time-consuming probate process which often lasts longer than nine months, allowing your beneficiaries to access their inheritance, funds and assets immediately.
It is also a very comprehensive document, allowing you to be as specific about the distribution of your assets as you want, as well as choosing legal guardians for your children. Other benefits include:
- Privacy – Unlike a Will, the contents of a Living Trust are not made public.
- It can include Durable Power of Attorney – Allowing your named trustee to immediately make financial and medical decisions for you if required.
- Delay distribution of assets – If you prefer, you can ensure that certain assets are held back from distribution to beneficiaries until a particular time, for example, keeping aside money for your child’s college fund or until he/she reaches a certain age.
- Keeps your business running – If your business is included in your Living Trust, then its income will stay accessible. If it is in a Will, then income will be inaccessible until the probate process is concluded.
- It is legal in any state and requires no modification if you move between states (although you may need to modify it in terms of updating assets), which Wills often require.
At Sedita, Campisano & Campisano, LLC, experienced estate planning attorneys can assist you with creating a Living Trust or drawing up other legal documents including Power of Attorney, medical directives and Wills. For more information or to speak to an attorney, please contact us today.