A will is one of the most basic estate planning documents for New York residents, and everyone should have one to make sure that there is no question about what would happen to your assets and minor children if something happens to you. But there are a few cases when having a revocable living trust as your main planning tool is imperative:
Avoiding probate. A revocable living trust will bypass the probate process, saving the people you love time and money. This is an easy step in traditional families that are in close contact and who agree with your choice of Executor; a form known as a “Waiver and Consent” must be sent to those individuals who would inherit from you if you had died without a will. If you are living with a domestic partner, are estranged from your immediate family, if your only relatives are distant cousins who you do not intend to benefit and/or who are no longer in contact, the traditional probate and court-supervised administration may be a costly and drawn out endeavor to benefit just a few individuals or charities. With a revocable living trust, if it is properly created and funded, the expense and delay of searching out those distant or estranged relatives and hoping they will consent to a probate is avoided.
Out-of-state property. If you own property in another state besides New York, you can more easily transfer ownership via a trust than a will. Transferring out-of-state property in a will usually means additional legal expenses because you could have probate in multiple states, which means added costs, legal fees and avoidable delay for the people you love.
Asset protection. If you want to protect the assets you leave your loved ones from creditors (including bankruptcy and divorce) a trust is the way to do it. Here, however, you will need an irrevocable trust; a revocable living trust is a fantastic asset management tool and avoids multiple court proceedings but will not protect your assets against creditors or safeguard assets against future expenses. It’s a valuable gift you can give your loved ones.
If you would like to learn more about the use of trusts in your unique situation to pass on what you care about to the people you love, call any of our offices today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We would be happy to meet with you in Rochester at the Culver Road Armory or at our Newark, New York or Canandaigua, New York sites. Call our main office today at (585) 232-5300 and mention this article. We will set your appointment at your chosen location.