Imagine you’re on a cloud looking down after you’re gone. You see all of your loved ones, and you see all the stuff you worked so hard for (like maybe your beloved house). What is happening?
Are the people left behind doing what you hoped they would? Are your assets going where you wanted them to go? Or do you see a lot of conflict and stress that you didn’t anticipate?
The main goal of any estate plan is, “Will it carry out my wishes and intentions?”
A good plan should do what you expect it to do.
A Living Trust – One of Our Best Tools
There are legal things we can do to make sure your wishes are carried out. One of the legal tools we use to do that is a trust.
A trust is nothing more than a set of instructions. It is a legal document that guides people in carrying out your wishes.
There are many different kinds of trusts. The most common trust we use with clients is the Revocable Living Trust. (A Living Trust simply means you created the trust while you were still living.)
The Revocable Living Trust (RLT) is a great tool because, when used properly, we can accomplish many things that may be important to you.
10 Ways a Revocable Living Trust Can Help
We can use RLTs to:
- Organize your assets.
- Keep control over your finances now.
- Make it easier on your loved ones later.
- Avoid probate court, which costs time, money, and extra stress for your loved ones.
- Keep your information private, rather than being disclosed in public court records during probate.
- Plan what will happen if you become disabled (like when someone takes away your checkbook because of illness or issues related to aging).
- Set up a system to care for and protect your loved ones, such as your spouse, children, or grandchildren.
- Determine who gets what after you die, as well as when and how they get it.
- Set your children up for success with their inheritance, avoiding the bad choices they may make, as well as mitigating risks to the inheritance like future divorce, lawsuits (commonly from car accidents), or other financial problems.
- Protect your family from financial risks if your spouse remarries after you pass away first.
So, is a trust right for you? It might be just the tool you need if you are interested in accomplishing some or many of the items on the above list.
How Trusts Fit in to Our Planning Process
In the end, a trust is just a tool. The important thing is how that tool will help the people who use it.
So our first step is to help people decide what type of plan fits their family. We do this by talking with you about what unique goals, concerns, and values should guide your planning.
Then we look at the tools available, such as a Revocable Living Trust or other types of trusts, and decide which tool will best serve the goals you have for you and your family.
If you’d like to learn more about the planning process and how we help families create effective plans, check out an upcoming workshop. Our “Getting Started With Wills & Trusts” workshop covers effective planning for every stage of life. Just give us a call at 217-726-9200 to RSVP for an upcoming workshop. Or if you’re ready to get started planning, give us a call to schedule an Initial Meeting.