If you own any type of real estate, even if there is a mortgage on it, it is important to think about estate planning so your real estate holdings are properly protected and can be passed on to your heirs upon your death. Many people choose to create a living trust for their assets, including real estate. There are several benefits to having your real estate held in a living trust, such as:
When you have a will, your entire estate -- including all assets and real estate -- will need to go through probate in the court system before it can be settled. Probate can involve multiple court hearings and can cost your heirs a lot of money in lawyer fees. In addition, settling an estate in probate can take a very long time, so your heirs will not be able to inherit your assets or take control of your real estate for months.
When you have a living trust, your trust lawyer will be able to design it in a way to ensure that your estate does not have to go through probate. Thus, your assets can be distributed quickly and the titles to any real estate you own can be transferred to your heirs in a timely manner. A living trust can be especially useful if you own real estate in multiple states, since property no held in a trust must go through probate in the state in which it is located.
Protection In the Event of Future Incapacitation
While you are the main trustee of your living trust while you are alive, a trust can be drawn up to include another trustee. You can name your spouse or a trusted family member to act as a trustee. If you happen to fall ill or become mentally or physically incapacitated and can no longer manage your financial interests, another trustee can step in. This will ensure that another person who you trust has the ability to act on your behalf to protect real estate that you own and ensure that mortgage payments are made and real estate taxes are paid.
If you would like to keep information about your assets and real estate holdings private, a living trust is a good option. When you have a will, information about your assets will become public record upon your passing when the estate goes through probate. A living trust allows for a transfer of property and other assets without the requirement of making this information public.
To start the process of forming a trust, meet with a lawyer like those at Thomason & Hessmer today.