Probate Lawyers And Living Trusts: Navigating The Estate Planning Process

Law Blog

A living trust is a popular estate planning tool that allows individuals to transfer property and assets to their beneficiaries outside of the probate process. This type of trust provides many benefits, including avoiding probate court and preserving privacy, but it can also create confusion and uncertainty when a trust creator passes away. A probate lawyer can help navigate the estate planning process and ensure that a living trust is properly administered.

Understanding Living Trusts

A living trust is a legal arrangement in which a trust creator (also known as the grantor) transfers ownership of their assets to a trust. The grantor also appoints a trustee to manage the trust and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries named in the trust agreement. The grantor can act as the trustee while they are alive and can also change the terms of the trust as needed.

Benefits of a Living Trust0

One of the main benefits of a living trust is that it avoids probate court, which can be a long, costly, and public process. Because the assets in a living trust are already transferred to the beneficiaries, the probate process is not necessary. Additionally, a living trust is private and does not become part of the public record, unlike a will.

When the Deceased Leaves a Living Trust

When a trust creator passes away, their assets are distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust agreement. The trustee is responsible for distributing the assets and ensuring that the grantor's wishes are honored. 

How a Probate Lawyer Can Help

A probate lawyer can assist with a variety of tasks related to a living trust, including:

  • A probate lawyer can review the trust agreement to ensure that it is valid and properly executed. They can also help interpret the terms of the trust and advise on any changes that may be necessary.
  • A probate lawyer can provide guidance to the trustee on their responsibilities and obligations, including distributing the assets and dealing with any disputes among the beneficiaries.
  • If there are disputes among the beneficiaries or disagreements over the terms of the trust, a probate lawyer can provide mediation and representation in court, if necessary.
  • A probate lawyer can also assist with filing tax returns for the trust and ensure that any taxes owed are paid.

If you've been named the executor of the estate of someone who has recently passed, a local probate lawyer can save you significant time and hassle as you navigate the process. 


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