The Pros & Cons of Establishing a Living Trust for Real Estate

by | Dec 13, 2023

The Pros & Cons of Establishing a Living Trust for Real Estate

Real estate is a significant and often complex component of one’s financial portfolio. As individuals seek effective ways to manage their assets and plan for the future, establishing a living trust has become a popular option. This legal instrument offers advantages and disadvantages that should be carefully considered. When consulting with your clients, you should be comfortable helping them explore the pros and cons of establishing a living trust specifically for real estate.

There are lots of ins and outs, but we wanted to put together a quick rundown of the pros and cons! This information is added-value you can offer to clients of any type. This helps you establish credibility and know-how, so that when they’re facing life transitions you are the one they call!


  • Probate Avoidance: One of the primary benefits of a living trust is the ability to bypass the probate process. Probate can be time-consuming and costly, often tying up assets for months or even years. With a living trust, your real estate can be smoothly transferred to beneficiaries without the need for court involvement.
  • Privacy Protection: Unlike a will, which becomes a public document during probate, a living trust allows for a more private transfer of assets. This confidentiality can be appealing for those who value their privacy and wish to keep their financial affairs out of the public domain.
  • Incapacity Planning: Living trusts provide a mechanism for managing your real estate in the event of incapacity. You can appoint a successor trustee to take over seamlessly, avoiding the need for a court-appointed conservatorship.
  • Flexibility and Control: Living trusts offer greater flexibility compared to wills. You retain control over your real estate during your lifetime and can modify the trust as circumstances change. This adaptability can be especially valuable for individuals with evolving financial situations or changing family dynamics.


  • Upfront Costs: Establishing a living trust incurs upfront costs, including legal fees for drafting the trust document. While these costs may be higher initially than creating a will, the long-term benefits may outweigh the initial expenses.
  • Complexity: Living trusts can be more complex to set up and manage than a simple will. They require diligent record-keeping and ongoing attention to ensure all assets, including real estate, are appropriately titled in the name of the trust. The complexity may discourage individuals who prefer a simpler estate planning solution.
  • Limited Creditor Protection: While living trusts provide certain protections, they do not offer the same level of creditor protection as some other estate planning tools. In some cases, assets held in a living trust may still be vulnerable to certain creditors.
  • Mortgage Challenges: Transferring real estate into a living trust may trigger due-on-sale clauses in mortgages. This could lead to lenders accelerating the loan and requiring immediate repayment. It’s crucial to review mortgage agreements and seek professional advice to navigate potential challenges.

Establishing a living trust for real estate involves a careful balancing act, weighing the advantages against the potential drawbacks. As with any legal and financial decision, it’s crucial to consult with estate planning professionals to ensure that the chosen approach aligns with your unique circumstances and goals. While a living trust can offer significant benefits, individuals should carefully consider their specific situation and preferences before making a decision. Ultimately, the right estate planning strategy is a personal choice that requires careful consideration and expert guidance.


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