Estate planning can be an important process for people in New York who want to protect their assets and provide for their loved ones in the future. While many people may put off making estate planning decisions, crafting these documents earlier on can provide peace of mind and clear answers, even in case of unexpected circumstances. While people may think first of making a will when considering their estates, they may also benefit from a revocable living trust. Trusts can help people of all financial means to retain greater control, flexibility and privacy.

One reason why many people may choose a living trust is avoiding probate. Assets that are passed through a will must first go through the probate process, which can take time and incur some fees. Other types of assets avoid probate, including life insurance policies, accounts with beneficiary designations and some jointly owned real estate. When people put their assets into their revocable living trust, those assets can pass directly to the beneficiary without undue delays.

Others may wish to avoid probate in order to protect their privacy. While wills are part of the public record in court, trusts are private documents that are not open to public review. In addition to these benefits, people may also opt for trusts in order to provide greater protection to their beneficiaries. Assets in a trust, depending on how it is created, may be shielded from some kinds of creditors and lawsuits after the creator’s death. The trust itself may also be less vulnerable to legal challenges than a will might be.

All of these can be important reasons for people to consider a revocable living trust to handle the distribution of their assets. An estate planning attorney may advise on how to use trusts, powers of attorney, and other documents as part of a comprehensive plan.