For many people, the main obstacle to developing a thoughtful and comprehensive estate plan is the fear of overwhelming legal fees for themselves and their beneficiaries.
Other people find the knowledge that their most personal decisions will be made public through the probate process to be discomfiting.
And still others have a strong desire to provide for the future of NOW's work for women's rights, but want to do it in a simple, straightforward way.
One of the best ways to meet these concerns is by writing a living trust, which serves the same purpose as a will but avoids some of the pitfalls. To create a living trust, you simply transfer your assets to the trust (you'll need a lawyer to set it up), and make yourself the trustee. You then continue to maintain complete control over all of your assets during your lifetime. Of course you can amend or revoke the trust at any time.
In the event that you were to become incapacitated, the trust holds another significant advantage over a will. By naming a co-trustee, you will ensure that someone of your choosing is managing your assets. This person could then handle your legal affairs without having to struggle in the courts with guardianship or conservatorship.
Because all of your assets are technically owned by the trust, there is no estate to probate after your lifetime, meaning that your beneficiaries will receive their bequests promptly, saving significantly on the fees usually associated with probate. And your privacy is protected, since there is no public probate procedure or a public filing of your will for all to see.
By providing for your loved ones and the causes you care about through a living trust, you will ensure that they will immediately receive the benefits of your generosity. Additionally, you will ensure that probate costs and additional legal fees do not diminish your gifts.
For more information about living trusts, send e-mail or call Johanna Ettin, NOW's Development Coordinator at 202-628-8669, ext. 130. If you have already named NOW or NOW Foundation as a beneficiary in your will, trust, life insurance or other estate plan, please let Johanna know. We would like to enroll you as a member of the Visionary Circleand give you the recognition you deserve.