You worked hard to acquire substantial assets throughout your life. To assign your money and property to loved ones after your death, you created a will. Unfortunately, because wills are public documents filed in court, any person may obtain a copy of your will after you die.
Nosey neighbors, estranged family members and even curious strangers have legal access to your will. Anyone can view the amount of money you gifted to your spouse and children, or to whom your car collection or vacation home now belong to.
To ensure the safety and privacy of both your assets and their new owners, you may want to establish a living trust.
Living trusts and ownership
A living trust is a document that allows you to maintain ownership of your assets while gifting them to beneficiaries to own after you die. Establishing a living trust constitutes a generous decision, and it may leave you confident that your privacy and assets are secure.
Individuals do not file living trusts with Tennessee government entities to become legal because they obtain legality upon the signature of a notary public.
Wills, however, become valid by filing through a probate process. The probate process involves the distribution of assets named in a will, and the process makes a will public record. Anyone who requests access to the document can obtain a copy of your will information.
Privacy and benefits
Because living trusts do not involve probate, many individuals see benefits by allocating assets with this type of document.
Utilizing a living trust to avoid probate can:
- Lower the cost of distributing your assets. Court fees associated with the probate of a will increase the expense of distributing your assets.
- Accelerate the distribution of your assets upon your death. Since probate includes verification in the court, your beneficiaries may not receive your assets until the process is completed several months after your death.
- Maintain privacy of your assets. Probate also involves the disclosure of your assets and to whom they are distributed.
Establishing a living trust may save time and money for your beneficiaries upon your death. Further, the security of your assets stays private to you and your successors, and you may feel confident in knowing your property information stays protected after you die.