Many Benefits of Revocable Trust
Even without the ability to protect assets from long-term care expenses the way an irrevocable trust can, a revocable trust can still be an extremely effective tool in an individual’s estate plan.
First and foremost, a revocable trust is an excellent mechanism to efficiently and expeditiously transfer assets to your loved ones. By placing assets into a revocable trust, an individual avoids having to go through the expensive, time-consuming and public process of probating a person’s estate for those specific assets.
The probate process can take several months to complete with some estates taking six to 12 months, or longer, to probate. Through the utilization of a revocable trust, an individual’s assets can be distributed immediately by a trustee appointed within the trust document.
Not only is the distribution of assets within a revocable trust quicker, the trust provides an individual with privacy as the assets held within the trust are not made a public record like assets often are when going through probate. Further, the fees charged to draft and execute a revocable trust can be considerably less than probating a person’s estate.
Another benefit of using a properly drafted revocable trust would be the ability to plan for unforeseen family issues that could arise. For example, an individual can designate within the trust document a successor/alternate trustee who is to take control of managing the assets within the trust if the individual goes through a period of incapacity or develops a cognitive impairment. Otherwise, this situation may have to be handled through the courts via a conservatorship which can be expensive and time-consuming.
Furthermore, a revocable trust also provides an individual with the ability to control when a beneficiary can receive a distribution of trust assets and in what amounts. Placing restrictions within the trust on when, and in what amounts, a beneficiary can receive distributions from the trust could be helpful in the event that a beneficiary is not quite ready or able to responsibly handle said distribution due to being too young, being a special needs person, having addiction issues, being a spendthrift, etc.
Finally, as opposed to gifting assets to a person outright, utilizing a revocable trust to hold assets for a beneficiary can be more advantageous as it can offer protection from that beneficiary’s creditors. A revocable trust can also serve as a way to protect assets from a beneficiary’s subsequent divorce if the gifted/inherited assets are first separated into a trust and not commingled with the marital assets of the couple.
If you have any questions about revocable trusts or any other types of trusts available to you and would like to set up an appointment with one of our attorneys, please call our office at 304-748-3200.
Chris Blair is an attorney with the law firm of Rokisky, Wilharm, Blair and Rokisky, which has offices in Weirton and Wheeling. If you would like to submit a question for publication, e-mail it to rrokisky@rokiskylaw. com.