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A living trust can be advantageous for many people.
A living trust can be advantageous for many people. / Potapova Valeriya/Getty Images

A living trust may seem necessary only for the wealthy or those with complicated estates. But a living trust can be advantageous for many people:

Know what it is.

A living trust is an arrangement under which one person — a trustee — holds legal title to property for another person — the beneficiary. You can even be the trustee of your own living trust.

Know the advantages.

A living trust averts the delay and additional expense of probate (a very public legal process that examines someone’s estate after the person dies.)

A living trust allows for suitable control of assets should a person become unable to make his or her own decisions.

Terms of the trust and information concerning income and assets are generally not public in states that don’t require court supervision of trust administration. “Court files for probate proceedings can generally be reviewed by anyone who cares to take the trouble to go to the court house and look through the file,” says Chicago attorney Gregory Norwell.

Last, living trusts are generally no more expensive to draw up than a conventional will. There are also software programs and books that can walk you through a do-it-yourself process.

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