Planning with a revocable trust

Revocable trusts (also called living trusts) are a great estate planning tool in the right case, but they are not for everyone. While only an estate planning attorney can make a recommendation on whether a revocable trust is right for you, read below to learn about the factors we discuss in determining whether a revocable trust is the right option for you. 

A revocable trust may be a good option if:

  • You are willing to re-title your assets in the trust name now and title new assets you acquire in the trust (this does not change how you can use them or how they are taxed).
  • You have children or other administrators who are sophisticated enough to handle settling your affairs without court supervision (probate).
  • You prefer to spend more now on a plan in order to avoid probate and lower the future cost of administering your estate.
  • You prefer that your estate be settled privately without court records available to the public or notice to family members who do not inherit. 

A revocable trust may not be for you if:

  • You would prefer to keep all of your assets titled in your name.
  • You prefer to keep the cost of estate planning as low as possible.
  • You do not mind if court records related to your estate are available to the public. 
  • You do not own real estate, business interests, or similar property, and all of your property will pass by beneficiary designation. 

How revocable trusts work

A revocable trust will avoid probate if properly set up and funded. This means following two steps:

 

  1. Set up the trust. We create a trust document for you that names administrators and has complete distribution provisions for your property. 
  2. Fund the trust. All property with significant value must be titled in the trust or set up to pass by beneficiary designation. We help transfer your real estate into the and give you written instructions for re-titling or updating beneficiaries on other assets. 

Once these steps are complete, your trust will work as intended, and will avoid probate. On the death of your survivor, your designated administrator will be able to immediately step in and wrap up your affairs without any court filings or court hearings. Keep in mind that your administrator will still need to manage and sell your property, keep complete and accurate records for the beneficiaries, and (most likely) file a tax return for the trust. 

 

Because a revocable trust calls for less administration work, our fees for assisting in the process are often substantially lower than for a probate of a similar estate that passes through the probate process. This makes revocable trusts an excellent tool for clients who want to reduce the overall cost of estate administration.  

Getting started with a revocable trust

All of our estate plans begin with a no-obligation meeting to discuss your situation and goals and talk about how we can help. As part of this meeting, we discuss your questions about revocable trusts and help you decide whether a revocable trust is the right option for you. We look forward to working with you!

Mike has proven to us to be both personally and professionally one of the most capable and thorough people we have ever had the pleasure of working with. We look forward to working with him again in the future.


- S.F. & J.F., Wisconsin Rapids

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