There are benefits to avoiding the probate process, however, those benefits require a little bit of up front work on your part, and a little bigger outlay for trust drafting fees. With that said, a little effort up front can save your loved ones significant administration fees down the road. Let me explain.
Assets in a revocable trust will escape probate, which is a court supervised (public) process of “proving” your will and seeing that assets are distributed according to your wishes. A revocable trust will shield your intentions from becoming public, help to plan for any future incapacity, and control who receives your property once you’re gone.
Revocable trusts are known as will substitutes. As such, a revocable trust will only achieve your objectives if substantially all of your assets are retitled in the name of the trust. Although this can be a time-consuming process, without it your trust will hold no assets, and it will be of no value in avoiding probate.
This is where a wealth management firm can be helpful. We can work collaboratively with your attorney on data gathering before your trust is drafted, and trust administration once your document is drafted. We can also provide strategies for account consolidation and asset titling. As you continue to buy and sell assets over time, your advisor can help to ensure that new assets are properly titled in the name of your trust.
We can also periodically review the terms of your trust with you to ensure that what you have written still reflects your wishes. For estates of $500,000 or more, utilizing a revocable trust while working with the assistance of a wealth management firm may be the ticket to minimizing the cost of passing on your assets to your loved ones.
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