Berman & Asbel, LLP

Some advantages of a revocable living trust

People in Pennsylvania who are working on an estate plan may find that a living revocable trust is a useful document to have. A living revocable trust can add additional FDIC protection and can provide greater privacy than a publicly probated will. The details of a trust only become publicly available if someone challenges the document leading to litigation.

Some assets, including bank accounts and retirement accounts, do not go in a trust, but they can name the trust as beneficiary. This may be useful in some circumstances such as if there are minor children.

A trust should not be considered a replacement for a will. Assets that are not in the trust can be placed in a pour-over will. Trusts may be less expensive than wills if a professional is appointed as executor for a will.

Living revocable trusts are one of many options that may fit a person's needs for an estate plan. An attorney may be able to discuss these options as well as assist in setting up a power of attorney and a living will and help with making choices that maximize the amount beneficiaries inherit. The former covers financial matters and the latter end-of-life care for an individual who is incapacitated. Estate plans can be set up to name guardians for minor children, to manage assets for an adult who cannot do so or to preserve family wealth. They should be reassessed periodically to account for changes in laws, family and assets. For example, events such as births, marriages or divorces or changes such as purchasing real estate may require an amendment to an estate plan.

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