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BLOG: Why a Living Trust Avoids Probate

The benefits of a revocable living trust.

A living trust is a written legal document through which your assets are placed into a trust for your benefit during your lifetime and then transferred to designated beneficiaries at your death by your chosen representative, called a "successor trustee."

One of the first benefits of a living trust is that it avoids probate. With a valid will, your estate will go through probate, the court proceedings through which your assets are distributed according to your wishes by the executor. A living trust, on the other hand, does NOT go through probate, which often means a faster distribution of assets to your heirs—from months or years with a will down to weeks with a living trust.

Your successor trustee will pay your debts and distribute your assets according to your instructions. Notably, both documents allow you to choose a guardian for your children in the event of your death.

By simply having a will does not prevent the costly and lengthy process of probate. A living trust is not made public, upon your death, your estate will be distributed in private. A will, on the hand, is public record and so all transactions will be public as well.  

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Charles December 27, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Some people gift away assets as they approach their later years. They gift away (soon enough) tens of thousands of dollars per year to each kid or family member. They do this while ensuring the bulk of their net worth is composed of their primary residence. A primary residence is (sort of) a non countable asset in terms of Medi-Cal qualification testing. With that, a person could have a net worth of hundreds of thousands of dollars and by working the system (perfectly legal) essentially still qualify for Medi-Cal. He could be in a Medi-cal bed right next to someone who has 1/3 the net worth but is spending down his assets because he doesn't qualify Medi-Cal coverage.

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