Speaking From the Grave

It is a truth of life that we are all born, we live, then we die. It is the circle of life. But what if I told you that you could have a voice beyond your life span? You could help the people you love even after you die. You could, in a sense, live indefinitely. This is not science fiction, this is reality and easily done by using a revocable trust.

Revocable living trusts function like wills, you use them to leave your property, and if you change your mind at any time while you’re alive, you can change the terms of the trust or revoke it altogether. The advantage comes at your death. Property in the trust is controlled by the person you named to take over as successor trustee, and that person has the power to distribute the property to inheritors without any probate court involvement. That saves everyone a lot of work and gets property to the people you chose to inherit it much more quickly.

The revocable trust is only amendable (you can change it) during your lifetime and by you. Once you pass away, your wishes are to be carried out strictly by the successor trustee. Lets say, for example, that you wanted to provide education funds for all of your grandchildren, but at the time of your death the last three grandchildren still have not been born. Not a problem. The trust will direct that a portion of your estate will be used for this very reason. So even though perhaps your grandchildren will not be going to college until nearly 20 years past your death, you still have the security of knowing you will enable them to be educated through your trust.

Revocable Living Trusts v. Wills

With both wills and revocable living trusts you can:

  • name beneficiaries for property
  • leave property to young children, and
  • revise your document as your circumstances or wishes change.

With a trust, not a will, you can:

  • avoid probate
  • reduce the chance of a court dispute over your estate
  • avoid a conservatorship, and
  • keep your document private after death

With a will, not a trust, you can:

  • name guardians for children
  • name managers for children’s property
  • name an executor, and
  • instruct how debts or taxes should be paid.

The trust is a powerful tool. Unlike a will, it has the ability to live forever. That is part of the beauty behind estate planning, it affords us the ability to leave our legacy. If you would like to start your estate plan today or have questions regarding a will or revocable trust, please contact Westby Law at 602.686.6375 or email us at eawestby@westbylaw.com.

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