When you are young, a will is usually the best way to handle your estate planning. As you age and become more established, it may make more sense to move some of your assets to a living trust. When should this happen? How will you know when you should? As a trust lawyer in Bergen County, NJ from a firm like the Law offices of Joshua Kaplan can explain, the process is complicated, but there a few things to keep in mind that can help you make the right decision.
What Is A Living Trust?
A living trust is an arrangement that lets you dictate where your assets go when you pass away. It allows the family to skip probate, which can be slow and costly. A living trust also allows for the distribution to be private. Probate is a public process and creates public records. A living trust is also much more difficult to contest than a simple will.
When is the Right Time?
There is no easy answer, but there is some advice. A living trust does not benefit you during your lifetime, so setting one up early might not be optimal since you will need to remember to move new assets into the trust over time. The more assets you own, the more sense it starts to make to have a living trust. Most people find themselves in that situation later in life. Some general advice is 55 and older if there are no health issues. That is not a hard and fast rule, though.
How will I know then?
Maintaining a living trust does take some work. When you purchase new assets you have to remember to put them in the trust. What it really comes down to is your plans. Do you still plan on buying a lot of assets? Do you have your eye on a vacation home? If so, it probably is not time for a living trust quite yet. With that being said, the more assets you have, the more your family could save by skipping the probate process. If you are single and don’t plan to make a lot of new asset purchases, maintaining the trust should be much easier.
Living trusts have a lot of benefits for people who own assets. Your heirs can skip the probate process, which saves time and money. However, the right time to set up a trust is not set in stone. If you still are not sure whether a living will is right for you, contact a trust lawyer to go over the specifics of your situation.