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The many benefits of a living trust: Should you take advantage?

Creating a living trust is a personal decision based on your beliefs, finances and what you want to happen to your assets upon your death. While this isn't the only estate planning tool you'll use, it's one of the most popular.

Before you decide in favor or against a living trust, it's critical to have a clear understanding of the benefits. Here are five that are attractive to most people:

  • Avoid probate: Any assets that you move into a living trust are able to avoid the probate process at the time of your death. This avoids a delay in your heirs receiving the property that you've left to them.
  • Privacy protection: Often overlooked, many people don't know that a will is a public document. If you don't want everyone to have access to your will upon your death, it's best to create a living trust. A living trust offers privacy protection, as it's not accessible by outsiders.
  • Control: Unlike a will, a living trust gives you greater control of your estate. For example, you can control when your heirs receive payments from your trust. This is a particularly good idea if you're leaving money to someone with poor financial management skills.
  • Incapacity planning: There may come a point when you're unable to make your own decisions, such as the result of a serious illness. A living trust can care for you in this situation, as your trustee is able to manage your affairs on your behalf.
  • Easy to create: It may not be as simple as a will, but the creation of a living trust is not nearly as complex as many people believe. Also, if you opt for a revocable trust, you can make as many changes as you want in the future.

These benefits of a living trust should open your eyes to what this legal arrangement can do for you, your family and your estate plan as a whole.

If you're ready to take advantage, consider how the benefits above will impact your life. From there, learn more about the legal process for creating a trust and take the first steps in getting started.

Visit our website for additional information on living trusts, wills and other estate planning topics in Florida.

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