There are some aspects of a probate proceeding that may prove unfruitful or inconvenient for a decedent and his or her heirs. First, the probate process can take over a year to complete. The more complex and intricate the decedent’s estate and will, the longer it will take to accomplish all of the procedures necessary to tie up loose ends. The longer a probate proceeding lasts, the more fees that are associated with it. In many cases, the executor will hire an attorney to help him or her navigate the probate process. Like regular civil court or criminal court, probate court has its own set of complicated rules and procedures. For some families, probate is filled with many disputes and disagreements regarding the disposition of the decedent’s assets. If a family member or other individual disagrees with how the executor is handling the will, for example, he or she can file a petition seeking court review of the executor’s actions.
is a written document that places your assets into a trust for your benefit during your lifetime and that provides for the transfer of those assets to a specified individual or individuals upon your death. In many cases, these individuals are referred to as secondary beneficiaries. Unlike with a will, legal title to the identified assets is placed in the trust. The beneficiary will appoint a third party to serve as the trustee of the estate. The trustee is responsible for managing the trust’s assets and seeing to any transfers that are necessary upon the beneficiary’s death or incapacitation.
One of the most attractive benefits of a trust is that they do not require probate. There are many circumstances in which a will must be administered through the probate process, which can be costly, time-consuming, and extremely public in nature. As a result, the administration of a trust following a decedent’s death typically allows a faster distribution of the assets contained therein than the administration of a will. In many situations, the secondary beneficiaries become primary beneficiaries immediately upon the trust-founder’s passing.
A trust can also provide a method for increasing your financial stability and providing a better outcome for the secondary beneficiaries. A trust’s assets can remain in investment accounts during the founding beneficiary’s lifetime, allowing them to increase in value. Additionally, a trust provides the founding beneficiary with significantly more privacy than a will. A trust can be designated as confidential and remain unavailable to prying eyes.