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Set up a revocable trust to avoid a lengthy and costly probate

Depicting what will happen after a person's death can be daunting, especially if there are significant assets that will be left behind. Entrusting a legacy to the heirs can become a challenge in a case where the heirs are not yet prepared to make sound decisions.

Most likely, many Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, residents have already drafted a will. A will can designate who will inherit the property. However, although it is better to have a will than to die intestate, it may be ideal to consider other estate planning tools, including revocable trusts. Wills are subject to probate, which can be costly and lengthy.

A revocable trust does not undergo probate because assets in a trust are no longer considered probate assets. Once the property owner dies, the trustee steps in to adhere to the provisions of the trust agreement. Without the involvement of the court and creditors, transferring the property to the heirs can be easier and faster. The provisions of a revocable trust agreement are similar to that of a will -- who gets what and when. The testator has to make sure that the assets are transferred and titled to the trust to ensure that the assets will not be subject to probate. Because the trust is revocable, the testator may amend the trust agreement at any time.

The ease of the distribution of assets to the heirs can lessen the grief that the survivors are experiencing. Considering that a probate can result in a contest of the will, it may be ideal to use a revocable trust. However, before doing so, it may be practical to seek help from estate planners. Different factors should be considered first before deciding on whether a will or a trust is more appropriate.

Source: Arkansas Business, "Estate Planning: Will vs. Revocable Trust (C. Ryan O'Quinn Commentary)," C. Ryan O'Quinn, Oct. 14, 2013

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