When approaching the estate planning process, it’s important to do so in a way that ensures you do all your research first. It’s the only way to verify whether or not you’re making the right decision for you. You can’t feel comfortable about your decision until you know that you have investigated all options and had a conversation with an experienced estate planning lawyer.
Suze Orman provides a lot of financial advice on a broad range of topics, but she’s known for arguing that revocable living trusts in particular are some of the most valuable tools a person might use in the estate planning process. In particular, she argues that these can completely eliminate probate concerns and other expenses when you pass away. While in general this advice is accurate, it’s not a rule that applies to every situation. It can be dangerous to accept this as true across the board without also doing your own research and sitting down with your estate planning lawyer.
A revocable trust might not be right for everyone. In some situations, you might not need it and it can cost a great deal more to put together when compared with a will. The upfront costs, therefore, are much higher with a revocable living trust. In order for your trust to be valid and serve any purpose, you must transfer your probate assets into the trust itself. Any assets that are not transferred into the trust will still have to go through your state’s probate process. Remember that if you never take the steps to properly fund your trust, then you will not gain any benefits regarding the time or the costs of probate.
Orman has often shared that once the trust is funded, it will save you a tremendous amount of money by eliminating all the executor and attorney’s fees handled in probate. If you have indeed put all your assets inside the trust then there should be minimal expenses on that end, but this does not mean you will remove all fees paid in the probate process. To know whether or not something is right for your situation, schedule a sit down meeting with your lawyer to walk through the various expenses and what you should be prepared to deal with if you decide to use a revocable living trust. The best way to get answers is to have an experienced lawyer help you.