Establishing a Living Trust is the Best Way to Leave Property Upon Death


In 2017, over 45,000 people died and left their loved ones with the troubling process of distributing their property and assets. Some of those who passed away were lucky enough to have already gone through estate planning and had their affairs in order before they passed, many were not prepared.

Even though it is a tough conversation to have and you may be thinking you’re too young to even be thinking about it, now is the time to begin properly preparing your estate to be left to your loved ones after your death.

What to Know About Leaving Property After Death:

  • Probate is a time-consuming process
  • If you can avoid probate you can save money and help your family grieve after your death
  • A will is a good way to expedite the probate process
  • Property in a living trust does not have to go through probate

Transferring Property after Death

Probate is the legal process by which the assets and property of an individual which were not immediately transferred following their death are divided amongst their heirs. This process tends to time consuming and stressful.

At best, probate will last between 4 and 6 months and will most likely be costly, as many documents will need to be filed with the court as well as appointing an executor of the will, which will be paid a premium.

People try to avoid the hassle of going through probate to transfer the property of a loved one to someone else by filling out a last will and testament with the hopes that it sufficiently transfers the assets that need to be distributed. Most of the time the assets in a will are distributed without probate intervention, but sometimes the assets need to be legally transferred and in those cases probate is required.

When it comes to avoiding probate and ensuring hard earned personal property and real estate are efficiently and quickly passed on to the family and friends, putting the assets in a living trust may be the best decision you can make. Obtaining a living trust for your assets allows for the quick and easy transfer of your property to those who are listed on the trust and prevents the need for probate as the assets listed in a trust have already been signed over and are ready to immediately be transferred.

What is a trust?

Trusts are estate-planning tools that are used to replace or supplement wills. A trust is especially helpful following the death of an individual as it privately and efficiently manages the distribution of a person’s property by transferring its benefits and obligations to chosen people without the need for probate.

After death, a trust acts as a stronger substitute to a last will and testament as it enables the specific assets which are held in the trust to privately and quickly be distributed to the beneficiaries in the trust without going through the time and expense of the tedious probate process. This means that in addition to having full control of how property and assets will be distributed, probate will be avoided as the trust will allow for an immediate transfer of any and all assets to other members of the trust following death.

Disadvantages of a Trust

  • Trusts cost more to create than a will
  • Creating a trust requires more paperwork and effort than filling out a will
  • Trusts take longer than a will to form as a trust requires assets to be signed over to the trust

Advantages of a Trust

  • A living trust avoids probate
  • Since a trust avoids probate, it saves you from unnecessary probate and legal fees
  • A trust unlike a will is not public record and therefore the assets in a trust are private
  • A living trust can allow for a more specific distribution of assets as a trust allows you to choose the time as well as how much is to be released.

Putting a House in a Trust

Generally, the items you want to include in your trust are those which are not immediately transferred after your death. These items which are not immediately transferred after your death are ones that are titled or registered in your name and without a trust require the courts to transfer ownership.

There are many major assets which should be included in a trust: examples of these assets are houses, real estate, bank/savings accounts, and investments. These types of assets all will require a court to transfer their ownership following a death.

When a living trust is created, all of the assets which are in it such as your home will have to be transferred from your name to the trust. In so doing, the home and your assets are now in the name of the trust and therefore are safely in its protective net which will allow for both the immediate transfer of ownership as well as distribution according to your exact wishes.

FAQ about Leaving Property Behind Upon a Death in Arizona:

Q: What happens to a house when the owner dies?

Following the death of the homeowner, the home will be distributed according to the will or trust that the deceased left behind. But, if the home was left to someone in a will, they will need to go through probate to obtain ownership of the home.

Q: How do I form a trust?

Trusts are complex documents that often require the expertise of a lawyer to complete. To get a better understanding of how to form a trust, review the following article on living trusts.

Q: How much does it cost to form a trust?

Creating a trust is not something that only those who are wealthy can do, in fact the cost to create a trust is based off of your situation and the amount or type of assets being added to the trust.

Receive Help Avoiding Probate in Arizona

If you are looking to protect your family and assets from probate, the only sure way to do so will be with the assistance of an experienced attorney. Whether it is creating a valid will or protecting your most important assets with a professionally prepared trust, an experienced attorney will make the difference in protecting your estate.

Call our Probate team at (480)467-4365 to discuss your case today.

Contact Probate Attorney Ryan Hodges

Call (480)467-4365 or fill out our contact form to schedule your consultation and discuss your best legal options.