Don't let convention dictate your estate planning choices

Although this blog has explored various aspects of revocable living trusts, wills may still be the default estate-planning instrument of choice for many readers in Pennsylvania.

One reason that wills might be more common is accessibility: Individuals may be able to start the process on their own. A revocable trust, in contrast, can be more complicated and many individuals might not be comfortable attempting it on their own. In addition, assets must be transferred into the trust, whereas a will generally does not require that same level of specificity.

With the assistance of an attorney that focuses on estate planning, however, the process of setting up a revocable trust can be easy. There may be slightly more up-front costs, but the long-term benefits of a revocable trust and the avoidance of probate can translate into much greater advantages. A trust can help an estate bypass probate even if an individual owned property in multiple states.

Some individuals may have the misconception that creating a revocable trust requires them to give up control of their property and assets. To the contrary, a revocable trust offers great flexibility. During the individual’s life, he or she can serve as the trustee. In the unforeseen event of incapacitation, the successor trustee named by the trust document can assume control and manage the trust for the individual’s benefit. Without such a document or an alternative directive, such a s a financial power of attorney, a court guardianship proceeding may be necessary.

To learn more about revocable living trusts, check out our firm’s wills, trusts and estates page.

Source: Forbes, “3 Things That Will Someday Matter Most to You,” Mark Eghrari, Nov. 4, 2014


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