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Avoid probate in Northern Virginia with a revocable living trust

If you are facing the task of settling an estate for a family member or loved one, or looking for estate planning alternatives that can help avoid probate in Northern Virginia when the time comes, we can help.  The Law Firm of Northern Virginia Trusts and Estates have been providing services such as revocable living trusts that can help you avoid probate if planned properly.

Areas We Serve

Northern Virginia Trusts and Estates serves residents and businesses located throughout Northern Virginia including Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Reston, McLean and Vienna.

Probate – Defined

Probate is the state-run process administered by the Circuit Court in the county of a deceased person’s residence at the time of death which oversees the administration of estates.  Even that description is a mouthful.  In reality, the probate court’s function is to check up on the executors or administrators of estates to make sure they are doing their jobs correctly.

Sounds quite reasonable, doesn’t it?

In theory, it probably is.  Unfortunately, like many activities run by the government, this one is often mired in bureaucracy and “red tape.”  Many times, an overwhelmed executor will devote months and months to the probate process only to finally give up and hire a probate attorney to handle the daunting task.  In some cases probate can last several months, and it can be over a year before all assets are distributed.  No offense to probate attorneys, but once they are hired to handle the probate process, every dollar that goes to pay their bills is one dollar that will not go to the estate’s beneficiaries.  Thus the motivation that many people have to do everything they can to avoid probate.

The solution – a revocable living trust

A Revocable Living Trust enables you to transfer many, if not the bulk of your assets out of what is called your “Probate Estate” during your lifetime.  That means that after your death, very few, if any, assets will be subject to the probate process, thus greatly reducing, or even eliminating the need for your loved ones to spend months paperwork or hiring an attorney to do the paperwork for them.

To further illustrate how this concept works, consider the example of a basic trust which defines the legal relationship among three parties. Property is transferred by one party to be held by another party, and it benefits the third party. The trustee has legal title to the property and the beneficiaries have equitable title to that property. The trustee maintains a fiduciary responsibility to the beneficiaries, and the trust is governed by written terms set down when the trust is created.

Benefits of Livings trusts:

  • Allow assets to be passed to heirs without going through probate
  • Save the costs and time of probate
  • Can plan for incapacity or disability
  • Allow the grantor to act as trustee or co-trustee
  • Do not save on estate taxes or state inheritance taxes
  • Should weigh costs against the cost of probate
  • A revocable trust allows the terms to be amended, altered or revoked.

Northern Virginia Trusts and Estates provides affordable estate planning services that can help you avoid probate in Virginia.  Our services areas cover Northern Virginia including Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax, Reston, McLean and Vienna.