Estate planning can be a daunting task. For some, the difficulty arises in determining how to provide for all the members of a family tree with a dozen branches. In other cases, an extensive cache of assets takes time to inventory and even more time to determine what to do with upon one’s passing. The most obvious – and often most valuable – of those assets is the family home or other real estate. By electing to own the property through a trust, an individual can take advantage of several benefits and make sure the future of the property is settled ahead of time.
Putting title to real estate in a trust will have benefits for a homeowner when they eventually pass. Through the use of a trust, a homeowner can avoid having their home go through a legal process known as probate, following their death. The probate process is costly, time consuming, and can lead to further problems and disputes with what should happen (or should have happened) to the property. When a trust owns the property, the homeowner can control the future of the property without using the court system. Owning real estate in trust allows for the homeowners wishes to be fulfilled. If the homeowner owns property in multiple states, the trust prevents the necessity to find attorneys in multiple states, as well as the time and expense of attending court dates across the country as the property passes through probate.
Owning real estate in a family trust or revocable living trust can create future tax benefits for beneficiaries of the trust. Through both estate tax and gift tax exemptions, the homeowner can spare their heirs of taxation on anything they will receive from the sale of the property. So long as the total value is under the exemption limit (several million), the heirs will not be required to pay estate tax. Although this benefit is not enjoyed by the homeowner directly, the homeowner can take solace in the fact that their loved ones will receive the benefit.
Ultimately, the biggest benefit to owning property in trust is the elimination of uncertainty, at least to an extent. It’s important that a homeowner be able to direct what happens to their property, and that their wishes are carried out after they are gone. Owning your home in a trust allows you to do exactly that. To determine whether now is the time for you to form a trust for your real estate or other large assets, you’ll want to speak to an experienced real estate or estate planning attorney. Call the Goosmann Law offices in Sioux City, Omaha, and Sioux Falls to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help you protect your wealth and assets.