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Understanding facts about a living trust

A common concern among Lakeland residents is what to do about their property and assets after they're gone. There are so many options to choose from and so many questions they may have that it's difficult to understand which is best for the individual. Like anything else, it depends on the circumstances and what the person would like to do for the heirs. Garnering reliable information from reputable sources is a way for the layperson to try and decide what would be preferable for them.

While wills are often viewed as the easiest way in which to distribute assets among heirs, there are other choices such as the living trust that might be better. One increasingly popular tactic when it comes to trust administration is the revocable trust. The revocable trust selects a person and makes him or her responsible for the management of the assets. As long as the individual taking out the living trust is mentally competent, it can be revoked at any time. In general, it will be come irrevocable after the decedent has passed.

A trust is different from a will in that the trust will ensure that the records are not a matter of public knowledge. Both address who will receive what from the assets. The trust is commonly used for people with substantial or complicated estates.

The person taking out the trust has options that can include distribution of the assets all at once or the assets being distributed in part over time. Various methods are used to maximize tax benefits and protect the heirs from being hit with a large bill as soon as the person dies.

One common problem that arises has to do with people who choose not to receive legal advice when deciding between a will and a trust. If the trust is taken out without adequate legal assistance, there is the potential for the intentions of the person to be lost in the maze of legal issues. Disputes between family members can happen and grow contentious if there is confusion about the trust administration. Therefore, it is always a sound idea to detail what is desired so it can be specifically written into the agreement.

Source: AARP.org, "10 Things You Should Know About Living Trusts," William J. Lynott, accessed on Aug. 26, 2014

Source: AARP.org, "10 Things You Should Know About Living Trusts," William J. Lynott, accessed on Aug. 26, 2014

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