In Virginia, a simple will is the most basic estate planning document and can be a good choice for those who have no children under the age of 18, and have uncomplicated estates.
A revocable living trust is a type of legal document that is a part of an overall estate plan. A trust is a legal “place” where you can legally move assets to pass on to your heirs after you die. The trust is one of the most popular ways to protect an estate from probate court; the legal process all wills must go through in order to receive validation.
The problem with probate is that the court can potentially render the will invalid and then decide where your estate should go and it will levy taxes on your estate that could deplete its value by half in some cases.
Why a Revocable Living Trust?
There are numerous types of trusts. Each one has a specific job to carry out, based on the wishes and needs of the actual creator. There are several reasons, though, that revocable living trusts are the route to take.
- These are created when you are alive and you are able to execute the trust, or manage it, until you pass away or you become unable to do so otherwise. This means you can continue to manage the property you put into the trust long term.
- If you decide to make changes or even dissolve the trust during your lifetime, you can do so. You, as the creator of the will, do not need permission from anyone to change the details of the trust whenever you decide there is a need to.
- Trusts, including this type, do not need to be filed in probate court. The trustee, who you name, will then distribute any and all assets contained within the legally binding trust as necessary. There is less of a delay ensuring your heirs receive what you leave to them.
- There is no public record on file about your assets when you use a revocable living trust. This is not the same as with a will, which creates such a file that everyone can see. This means you have more privacy when creating and managing your will.
Realize that a revocable living trust is just one of several estate planning tools that may fit your particular needs. However, it is a good one for many estates, large and small, because it helps to protect against taxes and avoids the probate process. That equates to time and money well spent caring for your family.