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Estate planning may include a living trust for probate avoidance

When setting out to create an estate plan, it is likely that the question of whether to use revocable living trusts as part of the grand plan will come up. The use of such trusts in West Virginia is an option of estate planning as it is in all other states. Hopefully, the decision whether to use a living trust will be determined working in close consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.

As the name indicates, a living trust is executed when the owner of assets is still alive. The assets are transferred into ownership by the trust mechanism under the control of the trustee. The creator of the trust can keep the income that is earned, act as the trustee and can have virtual total control over the provisions and existence of the trust.

When the owner/trustee dies, however, a successor trustee will take over to carry out the provisions. At that point, the trust is made irrevocable. It can be used to make final distribution to the beneficiaries listed in the trust or the trustee can be directed by the terms of the trust to administer it into the future for the welfare of the designated beneficiaries.

The living trust is well known as an estate planning tool to avoid estate probate under state law. With a will, a similar procedure of asset distribution will take place, but it will be a public procedure and will ultimately be under the supervision of the probate court. Many persons and families in West Virginia and elsewhere prefer not to go through the time and expenses of probate, making the living trust a viable option in those situations. Importantly, where there is property in more than one state, a living trust will be much easier and will avoid the multiple probate process that must be done if a will is probated.

Source: pressargus.com, "Profit From It: Have Questions About Living Trusts?", Lane Keeter, May 26, 2017

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