A living trust lets you control who receives your assets after you die. However, this isn't the only reason to create a living trust. A living trust can offer many benefits to its creator. For example, a living trust can help your beneficiaries avoid the probate-related expenses and delay normally associated with wills. Probate is required if the value of your probate estate exceeds a relatively low amount, which varies by state. Probate can last longer than two years and may be delayed by factors beyond the control of your beneficiaries, like overcrowded court and attorney schedules. The probate process can cost up to 10% of your estate's value. Living trusts can provide more privacy than wills. Although wills must be submitted to a probate court -- and therefore made public -- living trusts need not be. Living trusts may help you avoid certain estate taxes if they are prepared and funded properly. Finally, living trusts let you choose someone to manage your assets if you become incapacitated.
This Living Trust Education Center was created to answer some of the most common questions about living trusts and to help you understand what a living trust can do for you.