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Using a living trust to pass a home to a beneficiary

Creating an estate plan may mean deciding whether to use a will or a trust or both. A will may be best for sentimental items and items that have lower value. However, New York residents might want to consider placing their most valuable assets, including a home, into a living trust.

With trusts, assets usually pass more quickly to beneficiaries because they do not have to go through the probate process like a will does. For a person who owns property in more than one state, there could be multiple probate proceedings. A trust bypasses all of this and also allows privacy. A will, in contrast, is a matter of public record.

A person might want to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of an irrevocable and revocable trust with a professional. An irrevocable trust means that the trust cannot be changed by the owner once it is set up. However, it may offer tax and other advantages. With a revocable trust, grantors can make changes to it.

Becoming incapacitated is one of a number of situations that an estate plan also may deal with. People may want to appoint people to handle their finances and health care decisions if they are unable to do so. They may also want to create a document that discusses end-of-life care and what kinds of measures they wish to have taken. People in positions of responsibility, such as executors and trustees, should be individuals who are effective at managing family dynamics and any conflicts that might arise. People might want to discuss their estate plan, including these choices, with the family because this could reduce the likelihood of conflict or disappointment.

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