Most people assume that after creating a Will, their family will be all set. Everyone will get what they are supposed to get based on what instructions they leave in their Will.
Unfortunately, the process of dealing with an estate after someone dies is not that simple. Your family can spend months or even years finalizing everything — even when you have a Will in place. Here’s why: the Will goes through several steps in court before the Executor can distribute your assets to whomever you direct. So yes, your instructions will be carried out, but it may take a while.
Revocable Living Trust
Your family can avoid this annoying estate process if you create a Revocable Living Trust. A Trust is considered a separate “person” or separate legal entity in the eyes of the law. Title (your ownership) is transferred to this separate “person” called the Trust. That way when you (the Grantor), die, the Trust still exists. And because you didn’t own anything — the Trust does — there is nothing to go through court, making the process much simpler and faster — and your family won’t have to ask for the court’s permission.
Another benefit: a trust is private. Wills are filed with the Court and therefore become public documents but the trust document (called the Trust Agreement) is a private document and is not filed in any court or put on public record. Also, what most people don’t know is that when a Will is probated with the court, the court requires quite a bit of information before probating the Will such as the deceased person’s name, social security number, family information, bank account information, real estate information and other information about whether the deceased person has assets, such as life insurance, that will be paid outside the estate. A trust avoids having to provide the court with this information.
Creating a Revocable Living Trust is more expensive. A Will costs about $300 to $750 to prepare; however the probate process runs about $1,500 to $15,000, depending on the size of the estate, making the total about $1,800 to $15,750.
A trust costs between $2,000 and $7,500. This means in a larger estate, having a trust can actually be less expensive. Those with smaller estates might consider the higher cost, worth it for the privacy and the ease of administration as discussed above.
Whichever route you choose is up to you based on your personal feelings on the matter, your budget, as well as the size of your estate. Regardless of which option you choose, it’s important to have some documentation in place so your family knows what to do when you pass. The gift of a well-drafted estate plan is one of the best gifts you can give your family. We’re happy to answer any questions you have about setting up a Will or a Trust. Give us a call for a free consultation.
“Reggie Kelly is a fantastic attorney with fantastic paralegals. My wife and I have been using him and his firm since 1983 when we first purchased property in Harnett County 37 years ago. He offers excellent legal advice and guidance. He never gets in a hurry to get us out the door because of his next appointment. He always takes the time needed to check out all of the issues that might come up. Reggie Kelly is a proud American and he loves our country and he wants everyone to do well. Reggie Kelly is an even finer person than he is a fantastic attorney and we are very fortunate to also be able to call him and his wife Cheryl our friends. We give him a 10 STAR Review!”