What is a living trust?

| Jan 24, 2017 | trusts

When it comes to wills, trusts and other aspects of estate planning, the terms used can become confusing and make it difficult to understand what you need. While each document is similar in its purpose to manage your estate for you when you are unable to do so, the rules and functions of each one varies. One of the arrangements that is not as well-known is a living trust. While this is similar to a regular trust, there are certain differences that need to be noted.


Bankrate.com states that, if you want to pass your assets on to heirs sooner, a living trust provides the opportunity to do so because it bypasses the lengthy court process generally involved with probate. Not only will time be saved, but also potentially thousands of dollars in fees. By placing everything in a living trust, you will be able to alter the arrangements up until death. You can also manage the assets withheld as a trustee or designate someone else to do so.


If you do not wish the contents of your trust to become public knowledge, you may also opt for a living trust. Since the probate process in court is not required, there will be no public record. The only way the trust will become public is if one of the heirs sues the trustee and contests the estate. Otherwise, the only people who will be privy to those who are named as immediate beneficiaries and, in some states, secondary beneficiaries.


While you may be thinking that the benefits of a living trust are enticing enough to forego a traditional will, this may not be a wise decision. There are things that wills can do that trusts cannot, like naming guardians for your children. In order to determine what is right for you, you may want to discuss your situation with a lawyer. The information in this article is only intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.