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How a trust may be useful in an estate plan

Some Pennsylvania residents who are creating an estate plan might want to consider using a revocable living trust. Trusts can have a number of uses and are not just for wealthy people. For example, a trust could have a successor trustee appointed to take care of assets if the settlor becomes incapacitated. It could also be used to care for a disabled loved one.

A professional trustee with investment experience can manage the trust in a way that increases the value of assets for beneficiaries. A trust can also be used to specify how and when assets are distributed. While a trust can delay asset distribution, it can also allow for it to be faster than with a will. A will generally must go through a probate process, which can be time-consuming and expensive, but assets in a trust do not have to do so. A trust can also be helpful if a person has children from previous relationships to ensure that beneficiaries get what they are intended to receive.

Another use of a trust is in reducing or avoiding taxes and other complications. Out-of-state real estate can be placed in a trust so it does not have to go through probate in another state. A trust can also protect assets in an estate worth more than the estate tax exemption.

Trusts can also be used in a number of other ways. An attorney may be able to explain them as well as the many other tools for estate planning and how they can be useful in a person's particular situation, such as financial and health care powers of attorney.

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