As an estate-planning tool, the revocable living trust is oversold, overused, and overrated. It may also be exactly what you need.
The primary benefit is avoiding probate. Also called estate administration, the probate process can take nine months or more before your loved ones receive their inheritance. Having a living trust will enable them to receive their inheritance without delay upon your death.
The trust is established in your lifetime and then, when the time comes, functions as a substitute for your will. Setting up the trust means having to retitle each of your assets in the name of the trust. Brokerages, bank accounts, and real estate all must be transferred into the trust. The process can be involved, and in the case of real estate, it means having to prepare and record new deeds.
Still, this kind of trust is a popular estate-planning tool. Some professional advisers have gone so far as to recommend that everyone have a living trust. But the trusts can be expensive and cumbersome to set up. And unless they are properly maintained, they can actually complicate your estate after you’re gone.