Deciding whether to purchase a living trust is difficult. You want to protect your assets for your beneficiaries.

In evaluating attorneys or trust companies, try to stick to the facts and be wary of exaggerated claims about their products.  You want to be able to trust your lawyer, and know that they aren’t trying to scare or “up-sell” you into a living trust.

Claims to look out for include:

1. False Claims About the Probate Process.

Some companies use advertising slogans such as “The Choice is Yours: Sacrifice Money to the State or Protect Your Loved Ones.” These companies may exaggerate the costs and hassles of probate. In fact, you may be able to avoid probate in ways other than by a Trust.

2. False Claims About Tax Benefits.

Beware advertisements about the tax benefits of living trusts. The truth is that a simple living trust (as opposed to a more expensive and complicated tax-saving living trust) has no effect on taxes.

3. False Claims That Living Trusts Will Shelter You From Creditors.

A living trust will not automatically protect your assets and property from creditors. Only irrevocable trusts can do that – essentially, anything you can reach your creditors can reach.

4. False Claims About the Cost of Setting Up A Living Trust.

Living trusts can be expensive. Lawyers often charge ten or twenty times the cost of a will. Depending on the size of your estate, the costs of a living trust may even be higher than the cost of probate.

5. False Claims About How Quickly They Can Set Up Your Trust.

It can take a lot of time to set up a trust properly. Most important, writing up the document is not enough. The trust will not be valid until property is transferred from your name to the trust. This is called “funding the trust.” If the lawyer isn’t going to stick around and advise you on funding, find a new lawyer.

6. False Claims That You Don’t Need a Will If You Have A Trust.

It’s always a good idea to have a will, even if you have a trust.

If you decide you want to go ahead and find out more about setting up a living trust, consult a lawyer. Make sure the lawyer has experience in estate planning issues.  It is also important to ask about how a living trust may affect your eligibility for Medicaid nursing home benefits later on.

Talk with a lawyer you trust. Call us at 858-519-8020.

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