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Creating a trust can pave a smoother path for heirs

Creating an estate plan now can help ease your family's pain after you pass. Failing to decide how you want your affairs handled upon your death may lead to years of fighting and difficulties for those you left behind.

Attorneys who handle estate plans have many tools at their disposal for giving your heirs the best possible shot at a smooth transition. One of these is by setting up a trust. The unique features this option offers may help you and your heirs for years to come.

Trust basics

A trust is a special account set up under your name that may contain property, cash and other assets you place in it. You name beneficiaries who inherit the items in the trust upon your death unless there are specific conditions placed on it. For example, you may leave the trust to the appointed guardian of your children for use in caring for them until they turn 18. Once the children have reached the age of maturity, the remaining money would go to them.

Bypasses the probate process

While there are several positive reasons to establish a trust, one of the most popular is the fact that it does not have to go through the probate process. After death, a will has to go through probate court to ensure that money goes to creditors and heirs as directed by a decedent. Probate can take a long time to go through, delaying the delivery to heirs. Since a trust names beneficiaries, it does not have to go through the court; it passes immediately upon death.

Provides a way to protect your assets

A trust may also benefit you should you find yourself embroiled in a lawsuit or needing long-term critical care. Many people now use trusts to protect assets from seizure.

When planning your family's future without you, a trust may become a secure way to pass along an inheritance. Speak to your estate planning attorney for more guidance on the subject.

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