If you’ve followed the advice of most estate planning experts and have drawn up a will, you probably feel fairly confident about the final fate of your assets.

But, while the Last Will and Testament can be an excellent estate planning tool, the very existence of your will mandates probate upon your passing. It’s typically a lengthy, expensive court procedure that comes at a terrible time. First, a judge must authenticate your will. The judge must then transfer your assets to your beneficiary. It all boils down to paying court costs, appointing an executor and hiring a lawyer.

Certainly, this translates to angst, time and money for your loved ones, the very people you want to protect.

One of the answers? A Revocable Living Trust.

What is a Revocable Living Trust?

A trust is a legal agreement that determines how a person’s property will be managed and distributed during life and after death. A trust is “living” when established during the person’s lifetime and becomes a “revocable” living trust when the person has reserved the right to amend or revoke the trust while alive; for example, when circumstances change due to marriage, divorce, death, disability or even a “change of mind.”

The Revocable Trust can help to save the expenses of probate, distribute property to beneficiaries more quickly, and avoid other delays typically encountered with probate administration.

Which One Do I Need?

You need both – a Will and a revocable trust – to safeguard the future of your assets. One is not a substitution for the other. Instead, think of the will and revocable trust as working together, along with a durable power of attorney, for comprehensive asset protection.

Never sign a revocable living trust document in Missouri without the advice of a Missouri estate planning attorney, and don’t sign a trust in any state without an attorney. Only then can you be certain your documents are legal and enforceable. Your attorney can help you decide what to put into the trust, so your wishes will be carried out even if you become incapacitated.