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Revocable trusts may be a good option for Kent estates

When Kent residents think about planning ahead to establish an inheritance for their heirs, executing a will may be the first thing that comes to mind. Although the traditional will continues to be a staple of basic estate planning, an increasing number of estate planning professionals are recommending a revocable trust as an alternative.

A will provides a set of instructions as to the manner in which estate assets should be distributed. That seems like a simple and straightforward mechanism for disposing of assets in accordance with one's wishes, but some professionals in estate planning and probate administration have seen one too many disputes over the terms of a will.

Advocates of revocable trusts say that one of the shortcomings of a will results from the fact that administration of a will frequently requires the oversight of a probate court. Apart from the fact that probate administration delays the distribution of estate assets, trust advocates claim that involvement of the probate court provides fertile ground for family disputes to devolve into contentious litigation.

A revocable trust, on the other hand, is administered by an appointed trustee and requires no court oversight. A well drafted trust in the hands of a reliable trustee can sidestep opportunities for family conflict and help avoid the expensive and cumbersome probate process.

Although many estate planning professionals traditionally considered the revocable trust as an appropriate tool only for older and wealthier clients, many have come around to the opinion that revocable trusts are not just for the wealthy. One attorney says that he has "come to believe that a trust is better than a will in every way for every person."

When Kent residents consider their estate plans, it may be worthwhile to consider the revocable trust as an alternative for reducing the expenses of estate administration and minimizing the risks of acrimonious family disputes.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "How to Avoid Fights Over Inheritance," David Francis, July 17, 2012

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