When it comes to estate planning, many people believe that once they have created a will, their family will be taken care of after their passing. Unfortunately, though the current estate laws in the state of Georgia have been somewhat streamlined, the process isn’t always as straightforward as many hope. You may have heard of a living trust, but aren’t sure whether it’s worth the planning, cost, and paperwork. Here are some points to consider to recognize whether you may want to create one to protect your assets and your family.
Do You Want to Avoid Probate?
Living trusts in Georgia can avoid probate, which is the process of settling the estate in court when there is no will or no trust. The traditional estate planning process, which includes a will to transfer assets a the time of death, will be handled through the probate process. This process can be both costly and time-consuming for beneficiaries.
Probate is a court-supervised process that can take months to years. It requires filing multiple documents with the probate court and transferring the title of your property, which is then subject to numerous legal restrictions. Probate often produces frustration, stress, and anxiety for an already grieving family member or loved one who serves as executor.
A living trust can help bypass these issues and make sure that your children can access their inheritance more quickly.
Do You Want to Protect your Privacy?
If you don’t have a living trust, then the court will organize all of the assets in your estate, including stocks, CDs, and real estate. Because this information is considered a public record, it means anyone can view it during normal business hours at the local courthouse. If you’re concerned about keeping this information private for yourself or for family members who receive an inheritance from you after death—then a living trust may be right for you.
How a Living Trust Protects You
A living trust is a legal document that allows you to control how your property will be managed and distributed during your lifetime and after your death. It may also go by the names of revocable or inter vivos trust. It is a private document, so its terms are not available for public scrutiny after your death like a will.
A living trust’s greatest strength and attraction is that it allows your estate to bypass the probate court process upon your death provided all of your assets were properly transferred into your trust before you die (all real property should be placed under the name of the trust during your lifetime).
The process to create a living trust in the State of Georgia can take planning, preparation, and upfront costs. But once it is complete, your family or other designated loved ones can get their inheritance much sooner than if it had been processed through probate court, and they may save on substantial costs in the long run. It cannot be contested, so you don’t have to worry about your beneficiaries being vulnerable to disagreements and infighting over their inheritance.
Looking for More Information?
There are a lot of considerations when it comes to estate planning. You may still have questions about validity, whether you still need a will or additional documentation, preparation for incapacity, and choosing the best plan for you. You can find more information about living trusts on our blog.
To discuss a living trust with a qualified Georgia estate lawyer, contact us today.