The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a few good reasons for many people to review their estate plans, or to begin the process of planning their estate for the first time. Living trusts are always a useful estate planning tool, but especially so in the midst of a global pandemic.
What is a Living Trust?
A Living Trust is one of the most popular estate planning tools and designed to hold your assets during your lifetime. Upon your passing, a living trust is a method of transferring assets to your beneficiaries.
Why is a Living Trust Important?
Here are four important reasons to create a trust during the coronavirus pandemic.
(1) Health threats are real: The most obvious reason to create a living trust (or any estate planning document) is that the COVID-19 pandemic presents a very real threat to public health. While most people who contract the virus will survive, COVID-19 has a high level of contagiousness and a higher fatality rate compared to other viral diseases. It is important to consider your own mortality so that your wishes will be carried out in a worst-case scenario. This is especially so in a pandemic situation.
(2) Probate may be avoided: Living trusts are recommended so you can avoid the probate process. Avoiding probate has become more important now because many probate courts are closed or have limited services. If you die with a will instead of a trust, there may be significant delays in having your will processed; your heirs will not receive their inheritance efficiently. Living trusts bypass the probate process and make it easier for you to pass on your assets to your chosen recipients.
(3) Witnesses may not be available: With most Americans living under stay-at-home orders or social distancing requirements, getting the in-person witnesses and notarization you need to validate a will can be difficult. Trusts do not necessarily need witnesses to be executed. Some trust documents might require notarization depending on the kind of assets going into the trust, but those documents will likely be able to be notarized remotely.
(4) A successor trustee can be named: A living trust allows you to name a successor trustee who can step in to manage your trust and assets as soon as you become unable to do so. This could mean your death, but it could also mean your incapacity due to illness. People who experience serious symptoms of the COVID-19 may become incapacitated or placed on ventilators as part of their treatment. Having a trust already established allows your chosen successor trustee to seamlessly step in and manage your assets as needed. Without a trust, your loved ones may have to fight in court for the legal ability to make decisions and manage your assets on your behalf.
Create a Trust
For more information about why a living trust is one of the best tools to have in your estate plan, and how to create a trust, contact an experienced attorney at Baker Law Group today.
About Baker Law Group
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