If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Many people want to avoid probating a will.
They have heard it is costly and expensive.
This can be true.
But you should be careful of taking the easy way out.
According to a recent My Primetime News article titled “Hazards of Living Trusts,” a do-it-yourself living trust, a cookie cutter living trust, or a living trust "sold" to you via one of those "Avoid Probate!" steak dinner seminars may cause more problems than it solves.
Many of these trusts give you a false sense of security.
This is not the only document you need for a robust and effective estate plan ... and it is not a fix-it-and-forget-it solution.
You should work with an experienced estate planning attorney to help you avoid common pitfalls.
What are some issues you could overlook on your own?
Neglecting to create a will.
If you have a living trust, you do not need a will, right?
You will need to name an executor of your estate in your will.
Otherwise, the court may appoint an individual to serve in the role.
This will likely be more costly to your estate.
He or she may also act outside of your wishes.
You should also name beneficiaries.
A “pour-over-will” can help you make sure any property unintentionally left out of the trust makes it to your trust or to your family.
Not titling property correctly.
You need to be clear about what property was held in the trust and what property was not.
If this is unclear the courts will get involved.
If the property is determined to be outside of the trust, it will pass according to intestate laws.
In short, it could end up passing to the specific parties you want to keep from taking ownership of it in the first place.
Confusing an irrevocable trust with a revocable trust.
If you create an irrevocable trust, you cannot revoke it.
But you changed your mind?
You cannot amend it either.
This is not ideal for most people.
Trusts are not the best estate planning tool for every individual.
Are you not sure what you need?
Work with an experienced estate planning attorney to create a comprehensive plan for your own goals.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: My Primetime News (August 1, 2017) “Hazards of Living Trusts”