Planning your estate involves considering what will happen to your assets after your death.
The most commonly known aspect of estate planning is preparing a will. However, you have other options that could make it easier for your family once you are gone.
What is a living trust?
There are similarities between a will and a trust. Both allow you to designate how you plan to distribute your assets. However, a trust includes the act of naming a trustee to administer the distribution after you are gone.
Additionally, a will must go through the tedious probate process where the court validates the will, listening to any potential disputes that arise. A trust avoids probate and distributes all assets as you wished, including real estate.
Who controls the trust?
A living trust allows you to control the trust while you are alive. In Washington state, you can place virtually any asset in a living trust, including homes, financial accounts, automobiles, and more. If you choose to create a revocable living trust, you can make changes to it at any time while you are alive. After you die, your successor trustee will oversee the distribution of all assets to the relative beneficiaries listed in the trust.
Why would you want to avoid probate?
The probate process can be expensive and take a great deal of time. It can require various hearings and proceedings, depending on the number of assets and whether anyone tries to contest the will.
With efficient estate planning, you can help your family get through the property distribution process much more quickly.