Looking beyond living trusts

By November 23, 2010Uncategorized

Most everybody has heard of a living trust, but it seems that there are many misconceptions floating around about these trusts.  Perhaps most commonly is the notion that creating a living trust is a one-size-fits all approach to avoiding probate.  While it is true that under Arizona probate law, assets held in a living trust pass directly to beneficiaries without passing through probate, the analysis is generally much more complex than this.

To be clear, living trusts do have their unique advantages, and they are quite suitable for a great number of people.  But, anybody considering establishing a living trust to avoid probate should also consider the other options that may be available.  To begin with, the Arizona Probate Code provides for a small estate exception, which allows smaller estates to pass to beneficiaries by affidavit rather than through the probate process.  Arizona probate law also allows property titled jointly and community property to skip probate.

Using strategies other than a living trust to avoid probate can be less costly than more complicated estate planning; and for this reason, people should consider their entire range of options.  An Arizona probate lawyer can evaluate a person’s affairs to determine the approach that is best suitable to the individual.  The attorney can explain how Arizona probate law will impact the administration of the estate, and can help people make the best decision as to whether a living trust is right for them.