You have worked hard to build your estate for your loved ones. Why waste a portion of it to pay for probate? An experienced estate planning attorney can help you avoid the cost, time, and inefficiencies of the probate process by creating a revocable living trust.
A revocable living trust is created by a living individual and operates during that person's life time. The trust can be terminated or modified at any time for any reason by its creator, who is also called a grantor. Upon the grantor's death, the trust becomes irrevocable and the trust becomes the legal owner of the trust property, deeds, titles, and other assets that were placed into the trust.
One the primary benefits of a revocable living trust is that it can afford you the privacy that is lacking in the Georgia probate process. During probate all matters of an estate become public documents and can expose your beneficiaries to fraudulent schemes.
A revocable living trust can avoid the inefficiencies and costs of probate. If a grantor becomes disabled, a previously chosen successor trustee will become empowered to act for the trust. This can happen automatically without court intervention.
This successor trustee has a duty to act for the benefit of the grantor and to care for the trust property during the grantor's life. This duty of fidelity is also known as a fiduciary duty and prevents the trustee from converting the trust property for the benefit of a third party or anyone besides the grantor.
An important aspect of a revocable living trust is that it is not designed to shelter an estate from estate taxes. Other testamentary instruments should be discussed with an experienced estate planning attorney to make sure that the grantor of a revocable living trust receives the best tax outcome possible.
Source: The Greater Lansing Business Monthly, "Modern Estate Planning: Protecting Your Family," Stephen L. Hicks, 4/11/11