If protecting assets for future generations is one of your primary goals in life, you may fear that some of your wealth will diminish or your estate will come under unnecessary scrutiny if it must go through the probate process. Because a last will and testament goes into the public record, your personal business could become known by any individual wishing to gain access to it. That is one reason you may want to consider alternative estate planning options.
You may already know that creating a trust and placing assets into that trust could help you avoid probate. Trusts also remain private, which means that public entities cannot easily gain access to trust-related information. In any case, it is important to create the right type of trust for your specific situation.
To change or not to change?
One of the main aspects of a trust to consider is whether you should create a revocable trust (also known as a living trust) or an irrevocable trust. With a living trust, you have the ability to change or terminate the trust at any point during your life. With an irrevocable trust, you cannot make modifications once you have created the trust.
Many people in Hawaii choose to create a living trust due to the flexibility this type of tool offers. Because you create this trust and it goes into effect during your lifetime, you can name yourself as the trustee. Additionally, you can name a successor trustee to take over in the event of your death and properly distribute assets in accordance with the terms of the trust.
A living trust can also help your family avoid probate. Because you place your assets into the trust and detail your wishes for distribution to beneficiaries in the terms of the trust, the probate process has no role. Additionally, a trust can protect your assets from diminishing due to the court costs associated with probate.
Creating a trust
If you feel that creating a trust could suit your needs, you can seek advice from an experienced estate planning lawyer to determine what type of trust to set up.
At the Law Offices of Reuben S. F. Wong, we help people throughout Hawaii establish trusts and protect assets for future generations.