Many Massachusetts residents mistakenly believe that all they need is a will in order to protect their assets and property when they die. However, even with a valid will, the probate administration process still must take place, which is a long, expensive and public court proceeding.
The good news is that probate administration can be avoided with careful estate planning. Ultimately, the goal of estate planning is to avoid probate by creating a revocable or an irrevocable trust and funding the trust before death.
Irrevocable and revocable trusts can be used to accomplish a variety of goals, including tax minimizations, business succession, creditor protection and, of course, probate avoidance.
A revocable trust is also called a “living trust” and it allows the creator of the trust to change it over the years. When the creator of the trust dies, his or her remaining assets and property can “pour over” into the trust, which then acts much like a will but does not require the long and expensive probate process.
Almost all of our clients utilize a revocable trust of some form as part of their estate plans.
On the other hand, an irrevocable trust involves setting aside assets for certain beneficiaries; however, the assets are not accessible once they have been placed in the trust. These trusts are common among clients with larger estates and they have several potential advantages:
- They offer protection from creditors
- They are not included in the trust creator’s taxable estate
- They allow trust creators to make use of lifetime giving
As you can see, an effective estate plan should include more than just a will to avoid probate and maximize results for everyone involved.
Upon meeting with clients, our attorneys listen carefully to the client’s goals in order to strategically apply the best estate planning options.
To find out more about our personally-tailored trust options, please visit our Boston Trust Lawyers page.