You may know that trusts are one of a variety of estate planning tools that your Kansas Estate Planning Attorney can use to meet your estate planning goals. What you may not know is that there are several advantages that using one or more trusts in your estate plan can provide for you and your family. One of these benefits is that items and assets that get placed in a trust aren’t subject to probate when you pass away. In case you’re wondering what that does for your heirs, your property and assets could be in their hands within a couple of months of your passing. That is much faster than the typical time that it takes for an estate to get through probate, which is a year or more if there is a will, longer than that if you do not have a will.
A second key benefit of using a trust as part of your estate plan is privacy. Probate is a public process, and probate records are available to the public. A trust is a private document, both during your lifetime and after you pass away. The timing and substance of distributions to beneficiaries is a third benefit that you and your family can enjoy if you use a trust as part of your estate. When you establish a trust, you get to decide who gets what, and when they get it. There are as many reasons why this is important as there are reasons why your family is unique – are some of your heirs young? Do you want to schedule multiple distributions instead of lump sums? The choice is yours when you set up a trust, but if your estate goes through probate, your heirs each get their entire share at the conclusion of the probate process.
Trusts are also useful for ensuring that your children receive the assets that you intend for them if you are divorced from their other parent and especially if you have remarried or are planning to remarry. Divorce and remarriage can affect probate proceedings, and a trust can help you ensure that your children have access to the assets that you want them to have upon your passing regardless of your marital status or the presence of a significant other in your life.
A fifth benefit of using a trust as part of your estate plan is that you eliminate the need for a conservatorship hearing. When you create a trust, you can designate a person to take over management of the trust if you become unable to manage it on your own. Your loved ones will not have to approach the probate court to ask it to appoint a guardian or a conservator for you, which is often a difficult thing for children and family members to do, let alone to do at a public hearing.
There are benefits to using trusts in estate planning that go above and beyond the five that we have just suggested, such as helping your heirs avoid the hassle of opening estates and going through probate in other states where you own property. To learn more about estate planning in Kansas, call the Wichita law office of J. Joseph Weber, P.A. at 316-265-7802, or contact us through our website to schedule a consultation.