Living Trust. Download online state specific estate planning (revocable living trust) documents. Void Probate

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Living Trust, Legal Forms - Opting Out of Probate With a Living Trust



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Living Trust<br>Related Legal Information  

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Opting Out of Probate With a Living Trust.

Enter the concept of Probate avoidance. There are a growing number of ways to transfer assets to inheritors free of Probate within weeks or, at most, months of death. These include making gifts before death, adding a pay-on-death designation to a bank account, holding your house in joint tenancy with right of survivorship with your spouse or partner, and naming a beneficiary for life insurance and retirement accounts.
But only the Living Trust can be used for all types of Property and offers the broad planning flexibility of a will. With a Living Trust, for example, you can name alternate beneficiaries to inherit Property if your primary beneficiary dies before you do. That's something you can't accomplish with joint tenancy or a pay-on-death bank account.
Since it makes sense to avoid Probate, does everybody need a Living Trust? Not so fast. Living trusts do have a downside. Compared to wills, Living Trusts are considerably more time-consuming to establish, involve more ongoing maintenance and are more trouble to modify. And if you hire a Lawyer, you'll probably pay upwards of $1,000 for the document. The cost will shrink dramatically, of course, if you use a self-help tool to make your own trust. (And you'll still need a simple will, as a back-up device, even if you create a trust.)
These drawbacks are clearly outweighed by the benefits for people who have large estates and therefore will achieve big savings by avoiding Probate. The same goes for older people who are likely to die in the next few or even ten years.
Once you understand what a Living Trust is and how simple it is to prepare it, you can judge for yourself whether it makes sense to buy one from a professional or do it yourself. In our opinion, anyone -- Lawyer or non-Lawyer -- who charges more than $300-$400 for a basic Probate-avoidance Living Trust (plus a reasonable secretarial fee for transferring Property to the trust) is charging too much. But you'll probably have a tough time finding a Lawyer who will agree.
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