Berman & Asbel, LLP

Advantages of living trusts

Pennsylvania residents may choose to establish a living trust in order to make certain that their wishes are carried out after their passing. A living trust may replace a will or work in conjunction with one. Although there are similarities between a revocable living trust and a traditional will, they both have advantages for particular situations.

A living trust is distinguished from other types of trusts simply by the fact that it is set up by the benefactor during lifetime. Upon the death of the grantor, the trust can avoid the probate process and the trustee can begin the distribution of assets without expending time and legal effort. This is more useful for larger estates, as Pennsylvania offers simplified probate for estates worth less than $25,000.

One major advantage that a living trust has over a regular last will and testament comes with the greater range of wishes, conditions, stipulations and requests that can be carried out. Specific provisions can be made for beneficiaries that will need help over the long term. This may include minor children, disabled and mentally handicapped heirs that cannot care for themselves, loved ones that the benefactor wishes to help but cannot trust with large sums of money and any number of charitable trusts and other plans that would require substantial administration. As the trustee will be named and appointed while the beneficiary is still alive, it should be easier for the trustee to understand the grantor's intentions and preferred methods.

It is essential to find a trustee that can handle these responsibilities. Consultation with a lawyer can help make the client's requirements for the trust and the trustee more clear and easier to be complied with.

Source: TIME, "Why This Estate Planning Tool Beats Just Having a Will", Kerri Anne Renzulli, October 06, 2014

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