5 Reasons Arizonans Should Have a Living Trust

If you’re thinking about creating a living trust in Arizona, there are some important basics to know first. Here’s how a revocable living trust may work for you.

Wills and trusts are types of estate planning legal documents that memorialize your plan for how your assets will be divided after your passing. There are some important distinctions to make between the two documents. A will becomes effective upon death, while a living trust — as the name implies — becomes a useful tool immediately upon being signed.

With a revocable living trust, you retain control over your assets and retain the ability to make changes to the trust during your lifetime. Here are some other aspects to consider when establishing a revocable living trust:

1. Creating Documents Makes A Difference

A will becomes active upon death; however, your assets may not immediately transfer to your heirs. Having a Will may minimize or expedite the probate process. When an individual with assets passes away without an estate plan, the probate process requires additional steps, resources and time to complete. “This will require filling out court forms properly and completing a checklist of items including notifications to family and creditors,” says Matt Osborn, Wills & Trusts Manager at Desert Financial. Probate can be a lengthy process. Creating a living trust now may eliminate the need for the probate court process.

2. Maintain Control Over Your Assets

One common misconception about trusts is that you must have an extremely large estate in order to benefit from having a trust. Not true, says Osborn. “The value of the estate is only one factor,” he explains. “The need for control is an equally important aspect that needs to be examined.” When you create a revocable living trust, the documents name you as the trustor/trustee and you retain complete control over the assets held in the trust. The trust also names a successor trustee(s) to continue managing the trust (and the assets) if you are unable or when you pass away.

3. Ease in Transferring Assets

If you just have small keepsakes and family heirlooms like grandma’s silver tea set to distribute, a will may suffice. For other assets such as homes and property, stocks and bonds, RVs or boats and business interests, a revocable living trust allows you to manage the transfer of these assets with ease. Again, during your lifetime, as trustee of a revocable living trust, you’ll be able to add or remove these types of assets anytime if you buy or sell. After you pass, the successor trustee(s) will be able to begin managing your trust estate without court intervention.

4. If Privacy Matters

There are many potential reasons why you might want to keep some of the information in your estate planning documents confidential. Perhaps you worry about infighting among relatives or there are family considerations (such as a special-needs beneficiary) contained in your documents that you don’t wish to publicly divulge. With a will, it is possible the information contained in your document may become public after your death. “A Last Will & Testament does not get recorded during your lifetime; it stays private,” says Osborn. “However, your family might need to record it if there is a probate process required after your passing. Then it would be on public record.” With a revocable living trust, you will generally be able to transact or convey assets by presenting a Certificate of Trust – a summary document that verifies the existence of the trust and confirms that you or your successor trustee(s) possess the authority to act. This helps keep information regarding your beneficiaries private.

5. You Are Not Alone

Creating a revocable living trust with Desert Financial starts with speaking to a Wills & Trusts Professional. With years of experience, our Arizona Supreme Court certified team can provide information about how our estate planning legal documents work so you can determine what is best for you and for your family.

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Document preparation services are offered through Desert Financial Credit Union; an Arizona Supreme Court Certified Legal Document Preparation Business Entity (CLDP #81024). Legal document preparation services are not insured by the NCUA and have no credit union guarantee.

The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.