Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.
Actually, while most people think using a revocable living trust
protects them, it does nothing more than as you said above allows you to make the transfer without probate
. However, there are other things besides the transfer without probate that are important, such as protecting the property from liens or seizure or from having to be spent for long term medical care. An irrevocable trust, which is considered a separate entity from you personally, would give you not only the benefit of being able to transfer the property to beneficiaries at your death without probate, but it would protect all of your assets in the trust from all creditors including medicaid if ever needed. This means all assets in the trust are protected from creditors of you or your beneficiaries as long as the assets remain in the trust.
Also, just because the trust may be irrevocable does not mean you cannot change beneficiaries or what you are leaving to each beneficiary. Thus, if you include wife 3 and something happens to her and wife 4 needs to be included, you as grantor of the trust can change the beneficiaries as you choose. Irrevocable just means the trust cannot be dissolved without a court order and that the trust is being managed for the benefit of the beneficiaries and the grantor cannot manage the trust for himself or his own benefit.
The TOD is good to simply transfer property and or bank accounts. However, if you want to eliminate someone from getting the property and you forget to make the change, regardless of your wishes the property goes to them. It will avoid probate, but it does not avoid people fighting over your property when you are gone. The trust on the other hand allows you to insert clauses on exactly how you want the property distributed and also allows you to use a no contest
clause which states that anyone who challenges the terms or bequests in the trust would be forever barred from benefiting from the trust (this stops a ton of fighting).
Thank you so much for using JustAnswer.com. I truly aim to please you as a customer, but please keep in mind that I do not know what you already know or don't know, or with what you need help, unless you tell me. If I did not answer the question you thought you were asking, please respond with the specific question you wanted answered. PLEASE use REPLY to EXPERT if you would like more information or if you feel something was not included in your answer.
Kindly remember the ONLY WAY experts receive any credit at all for spending time with customers is if you click on OK, GOOD or EXCELLENT SERVICE even though you have made a deposit or are a subscription customer. YOU MUST COMPLETE THE RATING FOR THE EXPERT TO RECEIVE ANY CREDIT, if not the site keeps your money on deposit.
Also remember, sometimes the law does not support what we want it to support, but that is not the fault of the person answering the question, so please be courteous.