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Trusts often aren't fully taken advantage of

Those who have estate plans in place in Virginia are already ahead of the many other individuals who have not created such plans. Although some individuals create wills only, others have taken steps to establish trusts. The problem with those with trusts, though, is that many of them are not reaping their unique advantages.

With typical living trusts, asset owners transfer title to the majority of their assets to their trusts. Then, they and their spouses can be co-trustees. In this situation, they have complete control of their assets.

A huge benefit of living trusts is that any assets in them can avoid lengthy and expensive probate after the asset owners pass away. In addition, trusts offer privacy, whereas any terms of a will are part of the public record. On top of this, living trusts can come in handy in the event of disability, as the co-trustee can simply take over the management of the assets in the trusts. As a result, transferring assets as needed may be easier than it would with only a power of attorney document.

However, oftentimes, people put together trusts and then forget about them, neglecting to add new assets to these estate planning vehicles. Yet another common mistake involving trusts is failing to bring a successor trustee into one's picture soon enough. A qualified attorney in Virginia can help with putting together a trust that reflects the client's wishes and best interests, but the attorney can also provide the guidance needed to make sure that the client makes full use of the trust from day 1.

Source: forbes.com, "7 Big Estate Planning Mistakes", Bob Carlson, Feb. 28, 2018

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