A living trust, which is specifically usually related to a revocable living trust, is a legal document that controls and protects your assets such as your investments, bank account, real estate, vehicles and valuable personal property in a trust for your benefit. The benefit during your lifetime is that it bows out where you would like the sinks to go when you die, because it is revocable and you can cancel or change any time the circumstances change.
You can talk to a living trust lawyer, such as the ones available at the Iowa Law Group, if you have any questions. Most living trust lawyers are quite adept in what they do, and can answer most questions. When setting up a living trust you name yourself as a trustee, your spouses, your bank or other individuals might be your co-trustees however you remain in complete control of your assets and can move them in and out of the trust as you wish.
Should you become in the past stated in your successor trustee is going to act on your behalf in handling the financial issues and even managing properties or business assets for you. The living trusts spell this out and on like a wheel it can be handled without court involvement.
There are two main advantages of a living trust and that is avoiding probate and ensuring your privacy. The ability to bypass the courts is going to be one of the biggest pluses of a living trust as probate is a long and often complex process that takes place after you die. They will has to go through probate which can be lengthy and may value your stay at less than what you wanted it to be valued, or divide your estate up paid debts, pay taxes and of course eventually transfer whatever is left to your heirs.
Probate costs and timelines vary by state but generally the bigger and more complex estate the higher the cost, and the longer the time until the assets are distributed to the heirs. Another big manager of a living trust is privacy. A will is a public document which is open for all to scrutinize and possible contest, which can lead you into the probate process even if you do not have a complex estate. Probate itself is open to public views or anyone might see the details of your estate. In contrast the living trust is extremely private and is generally more difficult to challenge and avoid the public probate process altogether.
There are other ways to avoid probate. If you are thinking about avoiding probate when you set up a living, you will usually talk to a living trust lawyer before proceeding forward to make sure that you are actually setting up one thing that is going to be useful to you. Other methods of avoiding probate might be more geared towards your specific needs than a living trust.