As Ohio residents make plans for their estates after they die, many take advantage of the benefits of a living trust. Investopedia defines a living trust as a fiduciary relationship where a trustee is chosen during the person’s lifetime and is given the task of managing the assets for the beneficiary. This is done so assets can be easily transferred, and the estate can escape the lengthy, expensive, complicated probate process. The trustee is given legal possession of all property and assets that come into the trust.

Living trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust can be changed throughout the person’s life without permission from anyone else, but with an irrevocable trust the person gives up control of the trust and the trustee essentially becomes the legal owner.

Forbes Magazine lists several reasons why a person may choose a living trust. One is that it provides a little bit of control over how children are given an inheritance, which may be beneficial if the child is a minor or is making poor life choices. Rather than handing them a lump sum when the person dies, a trust keeps the money until certain conditions have been met, such as a certain age, a college degree or finishing rehab. The person can set almost any condition on a trust.

A living trust also allows for the person to keep certain assets in the family. For example, if a grown child is married and they divorce, the assets will remain in the family rather than being split with a former in-law. While probate is public, a trust will also keep the information private and protect the family’s privacy after the individual dies.