A: An irrevocable trust is basically a way to have a property bypass the estate process. You transfer the property into the trust and you no longer manage what happens with it. It is now the trustee (the person you designate) who handles the asset based on instructions that were set up with the trust.
In other words, if you wanted to move, only the trustee would have the right to handle the sale. However, by adding a life estate, even though you give up ownership, the property could not be sold without your approval.
The main advantage is that your heirs will be able to sell the house easily by not having to go through probate, and at a stepped-up value, meaning less taxes on sale. As always, you should discuss all the details involved with your attorney and accountant before making any decision.
Q: I see that the market is very active in my neighborhood. Why should I bother using a broker, I can probably sell it myself?
A: While this may be true, you might be surprised to know that statistics show that a broker can probably yield you a greater amount on sale. Also, you will likely be getting inundated with calls from agents and unqualified people who will waste a lot of your time.
In addition, you will have an experienced professional handling the transaction from start to finish, which can eliminate a lot of stress.
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