The distribution of a deceased person’s property and settlement of debts is called probate, which can be a difficult and costly process in Wisconsin. However, creating a revocable living trust can help simplify estate administration and avoid heading to court. This estate planning tool can offer many benefits to individuals and families.
Here is how you can simplify estate administration with a living trust.
What Is a Living Trust?
A living trust is a legal document that enables you to transfer your assets to a trust while you are still alive. You act as the grantor and the trustee, managing the trust’s assets throughout your life. In the trust document, you name a successor trustee who will manage the trust in case you cannot do so or pass away. The living trust takes effect immediately after it is established and can be changed or canceled while you are still mentally capable.
Simplifies Estate Administration
Transferring your assets into the trust becomes the trust’s property, not part of your probate estate. At the time of your passing, your beneficiaries can receive these assets directly without the court’s involvement.
Living trusts can simplify the estate administration process in Wisconsin by eliminating the need for probate. Probate can be complex and time-consuming, often taking months or even years to complete. This process involves filing legal documents, paying court fees, notifying creditors, and potentially resolving disputes or challenges to the will. With a living trust, the transfer of assets to beneficiaries can be faster and more efficient.
Protects Privacy and Confidentiality
Using a living trust in Wisconsin can provide greater privacy and confidentiality than probate proceedings. During probate, details about your estate, assets, and beneficiaries become public records, which may not be desirable for some individuals. By opting for a living trust, your estate administration remains private, and the information regarding your assets and beneficiaries is not available for public scrutiny.
Continuity of Asset Management
A living trust can help ensure smooth asset management if you become incapacitated. That person can manage the trust’s assets by appointing a successor trustee in the trust document without needing a court-appointed guardian or conservator. This can be very important if you have valuable assets or ongoing financial commitments that require continued attention.
Offers Flexibility and Control
Creating a living trust gives you greater control and flexibility over your assets. You can provide specific instructions on how your assets should be managed and distributed after your passing. You can even establish sub-trusts for minor beneficiaries or outline conditions for adult beneficiaries to receive their inheritance.
Additionally, you can include provisions for charitable donations or beneficiaries with special needs. This level of flexibility enables you to create an estate plan that aligns with your unique situation and objectives.
Is a Living Trust Right for You?
Living trusts can offer great benefits, but they may not be right for everyone. If your estate is small or mainly consists of joint accounts, life insurance policies with designated beneficiaries, or retirement accounts with named beneficiaries, a living trust may not be necessary. However, if you have considerable assets, complex family dynamics, or desire privacy and control, a living trust can be an excellent choice to streamline estate administration and avoid probate.
An Estate Planning Attorney Can Help With Your Living Trusts in Wisconsin
A living trust can be valuable for Wisconsin residents and families looking to simplify estate administration and avoid probate. If you’re considering a living trust, consult with an estate planning attorney to determine if it’s the right choice for you.
If you want to learn more about creating your living trust in Wisconsin, reach out to the Collins Law Firm. Our team offers various services, including estate planning, administration, business, and elder law. We are honored to serve Southeastern Wisconsin and the Milwaukee region. Contact us to book your free and confidential consultation by calling (414)-207-6292