Last week I wrote a post about the biggest misconception about wills.  The same recent conversation that I mentioned in that post also reminded me of what I believe is THE biggest misconception about Trusts.  Remember what my friend said?  “So I have my will or trust, so I don’t have to worry about going through probate…”

The Myth: having a trust means that you don’t go through probate.  And the buzzer says “bzzzzt,” wrong.  You may be thinking, “what?!  Mike, you are off your rocker.  That’s why I have a trust . . . to avoid probate!”  Just *having* a trust does not bypass the probate process.  To bypass probate, the trust must be “fully funded.”  “Funding” a trust is the process of changing ownership or beneficiaries of an asset to the trust.  I still have not had a trust come through my office for a review that was fully funded.  Yes, you read that right.  I know they’re out there, but I have yet to have one come in for review!  Not exactly what you thought when you started creating your legacy, huh?  If you’re curious to know more, you can read my blog post on the topic by clicking here.

Michael Lichterman is an estate planning and business planning attorney who helps families and business owners create a lasting legacy by planning for their Whole Family Wealth™.  This goes beyond merely planning for finances – it’s about who your are and what’s important to you.  He focuses on estate and asset protection planning for  the “experienced” generation, the “sandwich generation” (caring for parents and children), doctors/physicians, nurses, lawyers, dentists, professionals with minor children, family owned businesses and pet planning.  He takes the “counselor” part of attorney and counselor at law very seriously, and enjoys creating life long relationships with his clients – many of which have become great friends.