Utilizing Trusts to Avoid Probate (Part 4) – A Guide to Probate Avoidance for All

When it comes to trusts, the term “revocable” typically implies the ability to make changes. However, revocable also means that the trust can be revoked entirely, should the need arise. For instance, if there are simpler ways to leave your estate free of probate, your trust can be revoked in order to utilize these alternate methods.

Alternatively, if joint trust owners experience a divorce or disagreement that necessitates the revocation of the trust, it is possible to do so. In such cases, a special form does not need to be signed, unless the trust has already been filed with a probate court.

In order to revoke a trust, the simplest method is to remove all assets from the trust name and transfer them back into your own name. This includes any unrecorded deeds you signed to transfer real estate to the trust; simply destroy them and the property will revert to its original ownership. For recorded deeds, a new deed can be made to transfer the property back to you.

Similarly, beneficiary designations, titles to vehicles and boats, as well as personal property assignments can all be changed or destroyed to ensure that no assets are left in the trust name. The overall goal is to ensure that the trust is a non-entity with no assets flowing into it upon your death. Additionally, a new non-trust probate-avoiding plan can be set up using deeds, beneficiary designations, joint ownership, or TOD and POD designations.

When it comes to understanding a trust, the key is to structure it in a way that is easy to comprehend, much like a book with a table of contents for key provisions. This not only makes the trust easier to understand, but also aids in locating important provisions when needed.

Before making your trust, it is important to consider various necessary decisions, such as identifying all your assets. This includes providing details on all deeds, business ownership records, investments, and more to ensure that no assets are overlooked and subject to probate upon your death.

Additionally, information on your family history, individuals in charge of your estate, those making medical decisions, and how assets will be distributed upon your death must be clearly detailed. It is also important to have alternate options for each, should the initial choices be unable or unwilling to perform their duties.

Moreover, considering the digital age, maintaining lists of computer, telephone, and internet passwords, as well as identifying guardians for minor children, are essential aspects to consider when setting up a trust.

Ultimately, setting up a trust requires careful consideration and proper organization of details to ensure that your assets are protected and distributed according to your wishes. Proper planning can help to avoid probate and ensure a smooth transfer of assets to your loved ones after your passing.

This detailed insight comes from the book “How to Avoid Probate for Everyone: Protecting Your Estate for Your Loved Ones” authored by Ronald Farrington Sharp, providing readers with valuable information on estate planning and probate avoidance.


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