3 reasons to create a living trust during a pandemic

The public health and economic crises that have been brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have caused many people to seriously think about estate planning, especially creating or updating documents that provide instructions for making healthcare and financial decisions on their behalf in case they become incapacitated and can no longer do so.

Should you become incapacitated or die without an up-to-date estate plan in place, state laws and probate court will make the determination as to who will be responsible for handling your financial and healthcare decisions. However, having an estate plan in place gives you the peace of mind in knowing that your healthcare wishes will be honored and that your assets will go to your chosen beneficiaries.

A living trust is one of the most popular estate planning tools. There are several important reasons to establish a living trust during this pandemic, notwithstanding the very real threat to public health that COVID presents. A living trust allows you to:

  • Avoid probate because many probate courts are closed or offer limited services
  • Avoid needing witnesses because getting in-person witnesses and notarization has become increasingly more difficult
  • Establish a successor trustee who can step in to manage your trust and assets when you can no longer do so

While many of us don’t want to think about our own mortality, it’s important that you consider how you want your healthcare and financial wishes to be carried out if the worst-case scenario should happen in this or future pandemics.

What is a living trust?

A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that places your assets, including investments, bank accounts, real estate, vehicles, and other valuable personal property, in a trust for your benefit during your lifetime. It also spells out your wishes for passing on your assets upon your death and protects them for having to go through the time-consuming and often costly probate process.

Revocable means that you have the legal right to change or cancel the trust at any time during your lifetime. With an irrevocable trust, you cannot make changes after you sign it. Everything becomes the property of the trust. The benefit of this type of trust is that you won’t be subject to estate taxes, and you will be protecting your assets from creditors and possible lawsuits.

No matter which type of living trust you choose, your successor trustee will step in as manager of your financial affairs if you should become incapacitated or upon your death, distributing the assets according to your wishes.

How to create a living trust

The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented situation which has created challenges when it comes to setting up or updating an estate plan. If you wish to create a living trust at this time, we are here for you and can assist you remotely with living trust services and other legal documents.

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