A living trust is an estate planning tool that allows a person to create a trust that can provide benefits, such as avoiding parts of probate. The reason assets in a living trust avoid probate is simple: it is no longer part of your estate, and since the assets do not technically belong to you, they would not be part of the state’s probate process.
If my property doesn’t belong to me, can I use it?
Of course, you can. The use of the property, be it a home or savings and investment accounts, is still available to you. That’s often a large part of the legal language in creating a living trust in the first place. The exact language and format might change from trust to trust based on the individual’s need, but no one is barred from making use of the trust they’ve funded.
What are the other benefits of a living trust?
Living trusts can help estate planning efforts in many other ways, such as:
- Managing property owned in other states
- Avoiding any public record of your assets
- Maintaining some control over your assets after you’ve passed on
- Allowing you to create a care plan for yourself if you become incapacitated.
These benefits combined make it clear why living trusts are such a popular estate planning tool.
Are there any drawbacks?
There may be some drawbacks to a revocable living trust that may make one inappropriate for your estate plan. Often, you may have some maintenance and initiation fees, and of course, in Tennessee, the probate process is less vigorous than in other states.
Deciding on what to use for your estate plan depends on your needs and your priorities.