Living Trust in Troy, VA
Living trusts offer many benefits in estate planning and asset protection in Virginia. Trusts can be useful for avoiding probate, controlling fund distribution to beneficiaries, and shielding property from creditors.
Are you interested in learning how you can use a living trust as a part of your estate plan? Call our legal team at Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel at 434.589.2958 for a free consultation in Troy, VA, and across central Virginia.
Irrevocable vs. Revocable Living Trust
A living trust is a legal document that becomes active during your lifetime, unlike a testamentary trust, which a grantor establishes as part of their will. Once you transfer assets to a trust, these assets become the trust’s legal property.
- Revocable trusts are, as their name implies, flexible and amendable. The grantor (i.e., you) may act as the trustee of a revocable trust, which in practice means that you can continue using trust assets as usual. However, this type of trust doesn’t protect your assets from Medicaid or creditor claims.
- Irrevocable trusts are typically less flexible, and less prone to alteration once funded. This is what makes them valuable in the right circumstances. It’s hard or sometimes impossible to later change the terms of the trust, and distributions are often controlled by a third party. Irrevocable trusts can safeguard property from Medicaid claims, creditors, and lawsuits. Married couples can also use an irrevocable tax exemption trust to reduce estate taxes for the surviving spouse.
The Benefits of a Living Trust
Establishing a living trust offers many advantages. For instance, a trust can help you:
- Avoid probate. Any property distributed through a will must pass through probate, a lengthy and potentially expensive process. A trust allows your beneficiaries to receive assets privately and without delay.
- Keep control in case of incapacity. If you become mentally incapacitated, having your assets under the management of a living trust with a dependable co-trustee may eliminate the need for a conservator.
- Protect your privacy. Unlike a probated will, which goes on public record, a living trust’s terms remain concealed from the public.
- Regulate asset distribution after your death. Assets distributed through a will typically pass to beneficiaries once probate ends. In contrast, you can decide that trust assets will only distribute after a certain period – e.g., when a grandchild turns 21.
Do I Still Need a Will If I Set Up a Trust?
Yes, you should still have a legally valid will, even if you create a living trust. A will accounts for any property you forgot to include in the trust, like real estate titles you didn’t change. If you don’t have a will, any property outside the trust will automatically distribute according to Virginia intestacy laws upon your death.
Furthermore, if you have minor children, you must use a will to appoint a guardian for them. You cannot designate a guardian through a living trust.
Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel: Establish a Living Trust in Troy, VA
Living trusts offer increased financial control, flexibility, and security. Our team at Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel in Troy, VA, can help you explore living trust options in Virginia and make sure that the trust you establish answers your estate planning needs.
Call 434.589.2958 or contact us online for a free consultation.