Upon their death, most Michigan residents want to make the transition of property and assets as simple and easy as possible for surviving family members. Estate planning is a great way to do this. Estate plans can encompass many types of documents, but the most common are wills and trusts. As with most things, there are pros and cons for each. However, one distinct advantage to trusts is that they can help to avoid probate.
What is probate?
Probate is basically a court-supervised process of distributing the assets and property that formerly belonged to a deceased individual. On average, the probate process can last anywhere from six months to two years. Everything that goes through probate is public, and the process includes various charges and fees. There is nothing short and simple about probate, and it’s something that most people seek to avoid.
How a living trust bypasses probate
Fortunately, estate owners can help heirs avoid probate through a living trust. When assets are placed in a trust, the trust creator technically does not own them; the trustee of the trust does. However, the creator of the trust controls the assets as if they were his or hers. When the creator of the trust dies, the property and assets in the trust can bypass probate since the deceased individual does not “own” the trust contents.
Obviously, death is a subject that many people want to avoid. However, planning for the future always makes sense. It’s no secret that estate planning can be complicated, Michigan residents who have questions and want to ensure that their loved ones are taken care of could benefit by consulting a seasoned and knowledgeable attorney.