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Robertson Legal Group, LLC

Is a Living Trust Only For the Wealthy?



People often assume that a Revocable Living Trust is only meant for those with millions of dollars.  Unfortunately, many ill-informed financial advisors and others have spread false rumors that are categorically false.  A Revocable Living Trust is a legal instrument which is like a Will because it outlines your wishes upon your death with respect to the distribution of your assets. 

In the last week, I spoke with a person who has a Father that is ill with Cancer.  This person who I will refer to as “Janet” has three siblings and her parents own a home in the suburbs of Illinois.  Her parents are like a lot of parents where their house is paid for or at least almost paid for and they have insurance proceeds and retirement assets.  They are a typical middle-class family in the suburbs of Chicago such as Plano (IL), Yorkville, Oswego, Newark, Bristol, Aurora, Plainfield, Joliet, and Montgomery, Illinois.  Janet was ill informed because she thought a will was the appropriate legal instrument for her parents. 

Last Will and Testament vs. Revocable Living Trust

Now, we will examine the benefits of a Revocable Living Trust in contrasts to a Last Will and Testament for residents of Yorkville, Plano, Aurora, Montgomery, Bristol, Newark, Little Rock, and Kendall County, Illinois.  Let’s examine Janet’s assumption that a Revocable Living Trust or as otherwise known as a “Living Trust” is for millionaires.  Middle class families receive many benefits from a Revocable Living Trust such as the following:

Yorkville and Kendall County Estate Planning Attorneys

  1. Privacy

A Revocable Living Trust is a private document unlike a Last Will and Testament.  A Last Will and Testament or otherwise known as a “Will” must be filed with the appropriate court of jurisdiction.  Unlike a Revocable Living Trust, a Will is a public document where anybody has the legal right to read.  In contrasts, a Revocable Living Trust is a private document and only the intended beneficiaries of the Revocable Living Trust have the legal right to examine the contents of a Revocable Living Trust.

  1. Probe Court

Many people falsely assume that a Last Will and Testament will be easy to administer and avoid the pain of probate court.  Unlike a Last Will and Testament, a properly drafted and funded Revocable Living Trust avoids probate court in Will County, Illinois.  A Last Will and Testament in the Yorkville and Plano Il areas must be probated in many instances.  In Janet’s example above where her parents own a house in the suburbs of Yorkville, Kendall County, may be an example where the Last Will and Testament must undergo the probate court process in Yorkville at the Kendall County Courthouse. 

When the surviving spouse has deceased and the three (3) siblings want to sell their parent’s home, there is a process called probate court that must be administered to determine who is the legal owner of the family home (of Janet’s parents).  Even if there is a Last Will and Testament, the Last Will and Testament must be presented to Kendall County Probate Court which in many cases will require a Kendall County Probate Lawyer and Attorney and will costs thousands of dollars in legal fees and costs.  Although Janet’s parents likely outlined who shall be their executor in their Last Will and Testament, the Kendall County Court must ratify this decision.  Janet and her siblings must hire a Kendall County Probate Attorney who will advise the three (3) siblings that they must notify the other siblings of the probate proceedings and appoint an executor.  Unfortunately, in many cases, three (3) siblings have a distrust of one another, which is heightened in a Kendall County Probate proceeding.  Often, siblings do not trust one another with money and believe that their oldest sister or brother has often cheated them out of money.  Then, one or more of the siblings hires their own attorney and a simple Last Will and Testament becomes a more complicated scenario.

Unlike a Revocable Living Trust, a Last Will and Testament that must be probated in Kendall County requires notice to be provided to the other siblings by the sibling that is seeking to be the executor of the estate.  When one receives an official notice via certified mail, often they will hire a Kendall County Probate and Estate Attorney to represent their interests.  In contrasts, a Revocable Living Trust does not require any mailing and is an easily administered process unlike a Last Will and Testament.  Unlike a Last Will and Testament, there is no requirement for a Revocable Living Trust to go through the court process called “probate court” in Yorkville, Plano (IL) or Oswego, Illinois.

  1. Out of State Property

A Last Will and Testament becomes more difficult when there are multiple real estate properties and especially real estate outside the State of Illinois.  In each state where there is real estate, the beneficiaries of the decedent (the person that died) must undergo a probate estate in each state where there is probate.  In many instances, most people assume that a Last Will and Testament will present an easy situation.  On the contrary, a Revocable Living Property is an easier document to administer because there is no requirement of probate court. 

A Last Will and Testament can be a much more complicated process especially because courts and attorneys are involved unlike a property drafted and funded Revocable Living Trust.  A middle-class family is often better off with a Revocable Living Trust because family conflicts can be minimized and the involvement of attorneys and court processes can be minimized (if at all).  When there is more than one beneficiary, the estate of the decedent person does not have the option of self-representation.  A probate estate often must be represented by an Illinois licensed attorney unlike a Revocable Living Trust.  When there is no court involvement, the process is simpler and easier. 

  1. No Court Less Confusion

In conclusion, many middle-class people own real estate which have mortgages and second mortgages including lines of credit.  During a probate estate scenario, these creditors must be notified unlike with a Revocable Living Trust.  Often, siblings of decedents want to continue living in their family reside by continuing to pay the mortgage.  In the probate scenario, the siblings often must re-finance the property into their names or risks losing the house.  With a properly funded Revocable Living Trust, at some point the siblings or beneficiary must properly pay off the mortgage but there is a lot more flexibility with a Revocable Living Trust than a probate estate because of court involvement.  Court involvement makes the process of a probate estate much more complicated than a Revocable Living Trust. 

Robertson Legal Group, LLC are estates and trusts attorneys that help counsel and advise couples and widows in the Plano and Yorkville areas such as Shorewood, Minooka, Morris, Aurora, Montgomery, Bristol, Newark, and Plattville about their Revocable Living Trust and Powers of Attorneys for Property and Healthcare legal options including Last Wills and Testaments.  Sean Robertson of Robertson Legal Group, LLC work tireless to provide Kendall County families with their legal options regarding their estate planning legal options. 

We have offices in Yorkville and Kendall County.  We can be reached at 630-780-1034.

Robertson Legal Group, LLC

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