Avoiding a complex and expensive probate process is often a top priority for an experienced attorney helping create a person’s estate plan. However, merely creating a Will may not achieve this goal. While it is true that a Will can make your wishes known after your death and instruct an executor as to how to proceed, the fact is that most Wills must still go through probate.
Fortunately, an alternative exists. In Raleigh, Revocable Living Trusts allow a person to transfer ownership over property before they die while still being able to use that property during their lifetime. Even more importantly, property that transfers to another through a Revocable Trust is not subject to the probate process.
The main role of a Trust is to transfer ownership from one party to another. To achieve this goal, a party must place that property into the care of the Trustee, who will then ensure that the property changes hands upon a person’s death. According to North Carolina Revised Statutes § 36C-4-401, there is no specific form that a Revocable Living Trust must take. As long as the testamentary document specifically names property, nominates a Trustee, and identifies a beneficiary, this document has legal power.
Another positive of a revocable Trust is that a testator may make changes at will. These changes may include an alteration to a beneficiary, nominating a new Trustee, or adding or subtracting property. In addition, a testator may end the Trust at any time. However, it is worth remembering that ending this Trust will make the property subject to probate should a new Trust not go into effect. Our seasoned attorneys can provide more clarification as to how a Revocable Trust works.
The probate process has a reputation as being lengthy and expensive, and rightfully so. Even if no party contests the legality of a will, the court must still appoint an executor. That executor must then pay debts, liquidate property, and distribute funds. In all, this process can take several months.
Perhaps the best benefit of creating a Revocable Living Trust in Raleigh is to circumvent the probate process. Property that is in a Trust goes directly to the nominated beneficiary upon death. This means that a court never sees that property, it is not subject to liquidation, and a beneficiary can take direct, immediate control. Clearly, this is a benefit over the traditional probate process.
Still, it is important to remember what it means to place property into a Trust. The original owner cannot directly control this property. The Trustee now has a duty to safeguard those assets and ensure that they move to beneficiaries upon the testator’s death. While a testator may revoke these Trusts, it requires a following of the correct legal procedures. A knowledgeable lawyer at our firm can answer questions concerning the role that Trusts can play in contrast to the traditional probate process.
A Revocable Living Trust in Raleigh can be an important tool in estate planning. Whereas a Will creates instructions for the administration of an estate after a person dies, a Revocable Living Trust can help parties to avoid the messy probate process. In fact, the beneficiaries of a Living Trust can take immediate control over property and assets without court intervention.
Working with an attorney in the area can help individuals to successfully create Revocable Living Trusts. Our team can help to catalog your assets, identify beneficiaries, and nominate Trustees who retain control over these assets until death. Furthermore, you may make changes to your Trust at any time so long as you follow the correct processes. Give us a call today to see how we can help you.