Is a Living Trust a Matter of Public Record?

Are you thinking about creating a living trust in Michigan? If so, you’ll want the insight of an experienced estate planning lawyer to assist you.

One of the biggest advantages to using a living trust rather than a will to leave behind property to your loved ones, is that it gives your family a greater form of privacy. All of your estate planning documents will likely be kept private so long as you’re alive.

However, states require that whoever has possession of a deceased person’s will needs to file it promptly with the local probate court when that decedent passes away. In some cases, a person who has the will but fails to file it can be penalized by the court. Once a will is submitted to the local court it becomes a matter of public record, such that anyone who wants to view it may do so.

A living trust, however, never needs to be filed with a court even after death. The trustee is the only one who might see this document and will follow the instructions you outlined in it without having to get approval from the court. You will want to meet with an estate planning attorney to verify whether or not this means aspects of your property will be kept entirely private. Some state laws require disclosures to relatives, for example.

Other cases in which some of the details of your estate in your living trust might come up are in relation to real estate ownership, which is always a matter of public record. Lawsuits that can emerge over estate disputes can also cause details of an estate to become public, since lawsuits are a matter of public record.

When you’re on the verge of crafting a living trust for the first time, a MI estate planning lawyer should be the first person you contact.

 

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