Ever thought about what would really happen to your family and yourself if you got hit by a bus? If you answered yes, you’ve probably got a will. But you probably assumed that you’d died. How about if you just slip into a coma or get severe brain damage? In these instances it is imperative that you have what’s called a living trust.
A properly drafted trust is a document which lays out your wishes regarding your assets and who should own / control them when you are no longer around or able. A trust has many advantages over a simple will:
- Trusts remain private even after your death. A will becomes very public and can be contested by anyone wishing to file a claim. This can tie up your assets for a looong time.
- Wills can take years to work through probate in the courts in order to transfer to your heirs – and that’s only after you die! A trust document can distrubute assets immediately and or use them while you are incapacitated.
Other protectionist documents you should consider are a Durable Power of Attorney, to allow your loved ones to make decisions such as when / if to pull the plug, and a General Power of Attorney to allow someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf when you are unable.
Getting a full package in place will not only cost at least a few hundred dollars, but will require you to think through a lot of unpleasant scenarios. But trust me, the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your affairs are in order… just in case… is priceless.
For a list of attorneys that specialize in trusts, visit ACTEC.org.