When involved in the estate planning process, being aware of all available options will help you make the best decisions for you and your family. A revocable living trust is one document that many Michigan residents find useful when creating an estate plan.

According to the Huffington Post, a revocable living trust compiles all of your assets into a single trust for dispersal to your chosen beneficiaries upon your death. Assets can include physical property like real estate and vehicles, as well as any investments or bank accounts in your name. A living trust is controlled by a trustee (you) and a successor trustee (who you name). It’s the successor trustee’s duty to disperse your assets upon your death. This person can also help manage your assets in the event you become incapacitated and are no longer able to make decisions.

While wills are usually the standard when it comes to estate planning, living trusts offer quite a few benefits. You may be concerned about the privacy of your financial decisions, which can become public knowledge upon creation of a will. Conversely, a living trust is a private legal document, meaning the public cannot access its contents as they can a will. Trusts can also help you circumvent the probate process.

All wills are subject to probate, which is the process of setting your finances in order, whether that entails simply placing a monetary value on assets and disseminating those assets among heirs or settling any outstanding debts. Probate can also be rather lengthy, sometimes taking as long as two years to complete. While trusts do offer benefits, you should be aware that they are often costlier to create, and require reorganization of all of your assets so they are in the name of trust.

The above information is only meant to educate and should not be taken as legal guidance.