Many Ohio residents understand the importance of preparing a will before they pass away, but the potential benefits of trusts should also be considered during estate planning. A living trust allows people to retain control over major assets like real estate and then pass them on to heirs without going through the probate court process.

A will on the other hand requires the attention of a probate court. The executor of the will must complete paperwork for the court and pay fees. Information about assets and liabilities must also be provided by the executor, who oversees the paying of the estate’s bills while the court reviews the information and the terms of the will. Months might elapse before a probate court finishes its job and the executor can distribute assets to the heirs. Everything written within the will also becomes a matter of public record during this time.

The privacy and speed enabled by a living trust contrasts with the probate process. The creation of the trust effectively prepares the paperwork while the asset owner remains alive, which spares the heirs the need to do it later. Upon the death of the grantor, the assets held within the trust will transfer privately to the heirs within weeks. A person who owns homes in multiple states could avoid sending heirs to probate court in numerous places by using a living trust.

People who want to learn more about estate planning options and how to avoid probate might want to have the guidance of an attorney knowledgeable about estate law. Legal counsel can suggest different tools that are appropriate for a client’s situation.

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