Which Property Should Be Covered in a Living Trust?
Creating a living trust is one of the most common elements of estate planning. Due to the high costs and long lag times associated with probate court, many individuals prefer to avoid it as much as possible by placing their property in a living trust.
However, living trusts are not meant to cover every last piece of property you own. Small items of little value don’t need to be placed in a living trust, and other property — including your checking account, retirement accounts and life insurance policies — either should not or cannot be placed in a living trust. Here’s a look at some of the property your living trust might cover:
- Real estate: The basic rule of thumb is that living trusts are for big-ticket items, and for most people, that means homes and land. Avoiding probate with a house can save your beneficiaries a substantial amount of money in the long term.
- Small business interests: Although the considerations of different types of businesses may vary, one thing’s certain — you don’t want your active business to go through probate. It requires your executor to run the business, costs a lot of money and requires supervision from the court. A living trust can help keep the business operating and transfer ownership much more smoothly after your passing.
- Antiques and collectibles: While run-of-the-mill property doesn’t belong in your living trust, if you have antique jewelry, old furniture, stamp or coin collections or rare artwork, you should consider placing them in one. When in doubt, have potentially valuable items appraised.
- Intellectual property: Copyrights and patents are intangible, but they shouldn’t be forgotten when drawing up a living trust. These valuable assets could be costly in probate, and they also represent the sorts of things family members might not think or even know about.
If you have questions on whether or not you should set up a living trust, work with a skilled Florida estate planning attorney at the Charles Law Offices today.