Louisiana property holders may think the best way to pass their assets on after they pass away is to include them in a will, but this is often not the case. A will lets others know how you want your property and belongings distributed, but a will must still go through a lengthy probate process in court, during which time someone may contest the will. Some types of trust funds, on the other hand, can avoid probate altogether as can some other types of property.

Property not subject to probate

Retirement or other accounts that list one or more individuals on them as beneficiaries do not need to go to probate after the account holder is deceased. Additionally, if a home is owned by more than one person, such as a jointly held tenancy, then the property will pass to the other owner when one owner dies. If you have any assets that you own alone and that do not have named beneficiaries, you may want to consider creating a trust fund.

Living revocable trusts

One type of fund is a living revocable trust, which remains in the control of the trustor for that person’s lifetime. A revocable trust can be amended, such as to add a beneficiary or additional property, whereas an irrevocable trust cannot. Revocable trusts may not have certain tax benefits that irrevocable trusts offer since property in a revocable trust is still considered to be part of the trustor’s estate during the trustor’s life. However, at death, certain assets may still be eligible for a step-up in basis.

Trust funds allow for creative solutions

Trust funds can be structured so that interest on the trust is paid out to a beneficiary during that person’s lifetime. They can also be structured so that the beneficiaries of a trust do not receive a lump sum payment or so that money can be bookmarked for particular activities, like college or a wedding. An estate planning attorney may discuss your assets and goals with you and help you determine which type of plan is right for you.