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Do you need a Living Trust?

Estate planning is something that we don't often think about, first because it is a bit uncomfortable to sit down and decide what will happen to us, our family and our assets if we die. And secondly, many have the idea that it is too expensive. As a legal document assistant I prepare Living Trusts for my clients at a fraction of the cost of an estate planning attorney (this is only if you do not require the legal advice of an attorney).

I like to remind all of my clients that although it's uncomfortable, get it done! Should something happen to you, give your loved ones the gift of knowing what your wishes are in advance.

Here are five questions you can ask yourself to figure out if a Living Trust is right for you:

1. Do you have minor children? A Living Trust includes a will to name guardians for your minor children.

2. What is the value of your assets? If your assets are valued at more than $150,000.00 then your estate must go through probate if you do not have a Living Trust. Probate includes court oversight, fees and paperwork.

3. Would you like to keep your wishes, as expressed in your estate plan, private? A will becomes public record once probate is initiated, as opposed to a Living Trust which remains confidential.

4. Would you like your loved ones to avoid the process and fees involved in probate? Probate is time consuming, and expensive. The Court will oversee your entire estate to make sure it goes to the correct beneficiaries, which is great, but it can be expensive depending on the size of your estate.

5. Do you want to customize your estate plan to fit your specific family situation? Living Trusts are a great way to manage your assets, and set up parameters for your loved ones who will benefit from your estate. This includes being able to set up Trusts for Minors, Special Needs Trusts for those with disabilities, or help manage estates when there are blended families.

**Bonus Tip: A good Living Trust package will include several additional documents including a Durable Power of Attorney, Advance Healthcare Directive, Pour Over Will, Final Disposition Instructions and Grant Deeds to help transfer your real property into your Trust. If you have a Trust prepared but don't transfer your assets into it, it is useless.

If you would like to discuss setting up a Living Trust, please feel free to contact me and we can discuss your needs.

Non-Attorney Disclosure: I am not attorney, cannot provide legal advice or represent you in Court. I can provide self-help services at your specific direction.

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