What are the Benefits of a Living Trust?

Many people are relatively familiar with the idea of a will, which leaves all of your assets to who you so choose after you pass away. However, most people don’t realize that you can also create a revocable living trust that allows you to control your assets while you are alive and acts similarly to a will. There are other benefits that include, minimal probate, less taxes and much more. A living trust can actually save you and your would be beneficiaries, a lot of money if it is done right by a legal professional. To get a consultation be sure to call RD Smith Law Offices.

A revocable living trust is a popular estate planning tool that you can use to determine who will get your property when you die. Most living trusts are “revocable” because you can change them as your circumstances or wishes change.  Revocable living trusts are “living” because you make them during your lifetime.  Lawyers sometimes call this “inter vivos.”

Revocable Living Trusts Avoid Probate

Most people use living trusts to avoid probate. Probate is the court-supervised process of wrapping up a person’s estate.  Probate can be expensive, time consuming, and is often more of a burden than a help.  Property left through a living trust can pass to beneficiaries without probate.

Learn more about probate in Nolo’s Probate FAQ.

The Trust Document

A living trust document is a written document, signed by the trust maker and a notary public. The document must list the property in the trust, name a trustee, and name who gets the property when the trust maker dies.

The trustee is the person who will take care of the property.  While the trust maker is alive, the trustee is usually the trust maker and then a successor trustee takes over after the trust maker’s death.

Transferring Property Into the Trust

After the trust document is made, the trust maker must transfer any property he or she wants covered by the trust into the trust.  For many items, this requires simply including a list of property with the trust document. However, titled property (like real estate) must be retitled in the name of the trust.  This is usually not complicated or difficult, but it must be done correctly or the titled property could end up in probate.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/1Ks8lnu

Having A Will and Knowing What it Does Are Two Different Things

Many people have some sort of planning done for their estate when they pass. They have either a living will or some sort of other directive that allocates their assets to the proper parties. Many people however, do not take the time to update their wills, which can be catastrophic. For one, most people who have created a will may have done it years ago, which not only gives you plenty of time to forget exactly what your will entails but also can leave out family members or other individuals that were not in your life previously. Many kids don’t know anything about their parents wills and it turns out their parents actually don’t know that much about their wills either and this is a serious problem. Check out this article about Tom Brokaw and his daughter on a TED talk in 2012. 

By: Academy Guest
Blogger, Randi Siegel, President of DocuBank Posted in

“Unfortunately, I
don’t know a lot about my living will. In fact, I’m not even sure where it
is at this point.


Academy’s Steve Hartnett recently pointed out in a blog post that
Documents May Be the Most Important Thing We Do
. But how effective
are these documents on their own? Clearly not very, if Tom Brokaw is any

a 2012
TED talk between Brokaw and
his daughter, Dr. Jennifer Brokaw, it is quickly made clear that Mr. Brokaw’s
wishes aren’t exactly as in order as he had thought. “You know I have a living
will, and your mother does as well,” he begins. But his daughter replies that
she knows nothing about his living will.
The audience responds with
laughter and applause while Mr. Brokaw chuckles and looks a bit abashed. And in
response, he comes clean and admits: “Unfortunately, I don’t know a lot about
my living will. In fact, I’m not even sure where it is.”

brief exchange reveals volumes: an advance directive was created, but was not
shared with close relatives and is certainly not available in an emergency. As
Dr. Jennifer Brokaw observes, just creating an advance directive is frequently
not enough; an actual conversation with loved ones goes a long way toward
making sure clients actually get their desired results.

New York
Times’ Paula Span

recently reported on numerous cases of advance directives being forgotten or
misplaced, and thus not available at the hospital. Or the family was unaware
that a directive even existed while the document was overlooked in the chart by
medical personnel. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

solution is twofold. Clients need:

    • Instant,
      electronic access to their advance directives
      . Of course Mr.
      Brokaw and everyone else should share copies of their advance directive
      with loved ones and physicians. But as Span points out – this isn’t
      enough. Many people don’t have the capacity for thinking about a legal
      document when they’re rushing to their loved one’s side in a medical
      emergency. Or they may be alone in a crisis. The answer: store advance
      directives electronically. This could be in an online registry or mobile
      app. These services, which are operated by both private and not-for-profit
      organizations, offer a variety of options with different levels of service
      and features. A handful of states also operate their own registries. Many
      also include valuable emergency contact and medical emergency information.
      With electronic access, people don’t have to worry about where they may
      have put their documents – they will always be accessible to hospital
      staff from a website or via fax or email simply by carrying their
      registry’s wallet card.
    • Talk with loved

      about their goals for care and for living with illness.
      The Conversation

      is a good resource to help clients with this. Some registries also assist
      and prompt clients to have this discussion with family members.

takeaway from Tom Brokaw: don’t just draft your clients’ advance directives.
Make the documents work for your clients as intended. Consider registering
clients’ directives and also giving them the tools they need to talk with loved
ones about their wishes.

Randi J.
MBA, is the President of DocuBank (docubank.com), which ensures
that the emergency information and healthcare directives of its 200,000+
enrollees are available 24/7/365 through the largest advance directives
registry in the U.S., as well as access to an online safe for storage of
digital assets and other vital documents. Working with estate planning
professionals since 1997, Randi frequently speaks at national estate planning
conferences and has appeared on radio and television as an authority on registries.
A member of the Philadelphia Estate Planning Council, the International Society
of Advance Care Planning and the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care, Randi is
active in health education and public engagement related to advance care
planning/advance directives. She serves as Pennsylvania liaison to the National
Healthcare Decisions Day initiative and as a board member of the Center for
Advocacy for the Rights and Interests of the Elderly. Randi is an ongoing
contributor to the Academy blog.

Guest Blogger

American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.

9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300

San Diego, California 92123

Phone: (858) 453-2128


Is Your Data Secure?

Wifi is an often essential part of communication. At RD Smith, we understand how important it is to be connected, especially when it could influence your case. It is all too easy now for hackers to get your personal information when you are browsing via mobile web, making it very important to have apps that help you keep your data your own. IPVanish is one such app that allows you to surf the web and do so safely. With IPVanish, it hides the IP address and makes sure your surfing experience is fast, easy and secure.
A few other examples are OpenVPNConnect, Pure VPN and SurfEasy.