Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC Law Blog

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Will a Revocable Trust Avoid Probate?

A properly structured revocable trust can be a really valuable estate planning tool for a number of reasons. Many people who choose to include a revocable trust in their estate plans do so, at least in part, to avoid probate. Probate can be problematic on a number of levels. First, probate is a public court proceeding and a matter of public record. This means goodbye privacy for your estate and family following your death. Second, probate can be very time consuming. It is a complex and nuanced process where a number of court appearances are likely to be scheduled. This means your loved ones will have to be dragged through the lengthy legal proceeding of probate in the wake of your death. Furthermore, inheritances cannot be distributed until the end of probate which can make for a significant delay in your loved ones receiving what you left for them. Third, probate can be very expensive. Court costs can quickly pile up. So, as you can see, probate is something that many want to avoid for a number of reasons. The question then becomes, will a revocable trust help you avoid probate?

Will a Revocable Trust Avoid Probate?

A revocable trust is referred to as “revocable” because it can be easily amended or revoked by the creator of the trust. To create a trust, the trust creator, or “settlor,” drafts the governing trust document and appoints a trustee to manage the trust for the named beneficiaries and in accordance with the trust document. It is also essential that the trust be properly funded.

In fact, whether your trust will help avoid probate will be contingent on whether your assets were effectively transferred into the trust. In order to transfer property to be held in trust, the title or ownership interests in the asset must be effectively turned over into the name of the trust. Trust assets avoid probate because they are removed from a person’s probate estate. The property held in trust is considered to be owned by the trust and not the individual, thus the property is not included in the probate estate of the individual. This is why properly transferring assets into the trust is so vital to successfully avoiding probate and reaping the other benefits that a revocable trust can provide.

In order to effectively transfer property into your trust, the process may very well look different depending on the type of asset you are looking to transfer. Transferring real property, for example, will likely involve retitling the property so that the trust effectively holds title to the property. The process will, however, look different if you are trying to transfer bank accounts and securities into your trust. So, pay specific attention to what process is required to transfer various asset types into your trust.

Arkansas Estate Planning Attorneys

The knowledgeable and dedicated team of estate planning attorneys at Hyden, Miron & Foster can discuss your estate planning options with you and work with you to develop a strong estate plan that meets your unique needs and circumstances. Contact us today.

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