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Offered by Dolan & Associates, P.C.

Many people believe that if you use a living trust to plan your estate, that it avoids probate and costs less to administer after your death.

Unfortunately, the truth is that living trusts usually end up failing to avoid probate and result in your family bearing the cost of going through the formal court probate process, in addition to paying for the trust administration process. The only way to have a living trust that avoids probate and results in a more cost-effective administration is to properly implement that living trust.

If you currently have a living trust, I would encourage you to look through the material that was provided to you by the attorney that prepared your living trust. In almost all cases, there is a letter from the attorney spelling out all of the things you need to do for the living trust to perform the way it was intended. While this letter effectively protects the attorney from you suing them, it does very little to help you have a plan that works effectively for you and your family. If you had an attorney prepare a living trust, and you walked out of the attorney’s office with a pile of documentation and there was not significant activity and followup after signing your trust, your plan is in danger of failure.

Living trusts require proper implementation or they result in extra expense for your family, not cost savings. If you are using a living trust to plan your estate, you should understand all of the critical aspects of properly implementing that trust to get its full benefit. Just having documents stuck on the shelf or in your safe deposit box is a recipe for disaster.

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Dolan & Associates | Estate Plans