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Is a revocable living trust right for you?

If taking care of your family after you die is a priority, you may be wondering if a living trust or a will is better in Massachusetts. Choosing the right estate planning tool typically depends on your particular concerns, and what you want to accomplish.

An irrevocable trust requires that all of your property be turned over to the trust and the trustee. This is permanent and cannot be reversed. A revocable trust can be changed at a later point if needed. According to The Balance, this type of estate planning tool has a significant advantage over a will.

Probate is the process by which beneficiaries and heirs can claim their portion of the estate. It is court-supervised, of public record and required when you leave a will. It could take weeks or months before your beneficiaries have access to bank accounts and other property. However, probate is generally not required when you have a revocable trust. This private contract enables you to appoint a trustee to settle the trust and distribute property to your named beneficiaries.

The court is not needed, and the documents are not part of the public record unless the validity of the trust is challenged in a lawsuit. Without the need for probate, your loved ones may have access to cash almost immediately.

A living trust is a legal entity, but it does not control or own anything until you transfer property to it. Assets that are not in the trust when you die will still need to be probated, as no specific legal arrangements address them. Creating a pour-over will enables you to name the trust as your beneficiary. Although it requires probate, it doesn’t leave your entire estate open to public record and distribution of only the will contents will be delayed.

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