Living trusts, houses and estate planning

Georgia residents who are making estate plans might want to consider creating a living trust that they place their home into. If they have homes in other states, they might want to put those into the trust as well. This will prevent the homes from being tied up in probate in multiple states. The probate process can be lengthy and expensive in some cases while a trust allows funds to pass directly to a beneficiary.

A person can place other property in the trust as well besides the home. A will can still be created to distribute items that are less valuable.

People who are planning their estates might want to discuss whether to create a revocable or irrevocable trust with an attorney. A revocable trust is more flexible in that it allows a person to change the trust. An irrevocable trust cannot be changed, but it also protects assets in a way that a revocable trust cannot.

Another aspect of creating a trust is choosing a trustee and deciding what powers the trustee will have. For example, the trustee might be in charge of deciding when assets are distributed to the beneficiary, or the trust may specify when and how assets are distributed. The trustee can be a family member, a friend or a professional such as an attorney. People should think about family dynamics when choosing a trustee and pick someone who will be able to manage those dynamics. Along similar lines, another aspect of estate planning is choosing someone to manage finances and health care in the event a person is incapacitated. Selecting the person who will have these responsibilities should also be done with care.

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