For most people, the peak earning years are the 40’s and 50’s so people start to accumulate more assets.

Some people are lucky enough to have inherited some assets as well. Also by then many people have had several employers, find themselves divorced and remarried, or discover health problems of their own or their children.


If you are over 40, you know that life gets complicated. You need to speak to someone who understands that complexity and how to best sort through the issues.

  • Do you want to take care of your current spouse and your children from a prior marriage?
  • How do you feel about your 18-year-old inheriting your money with no guidance?
  • What if you became ill and disabled, who would take care of your business?
  • Who would make healthcare decisions for you?


If you have a Will—or don’t have a Will—your estate must be probated.


Probate is a court process where your assets are gathered, bills are paid, and the residue is distributed to your heirs. It can take anywhere from 6-18 months for an average case, partly because Rhode Island has 39 part-time probate judges. For example, Tiverton probate court is in session only one day a month. Few people can navigate the probate labyrinth without the aid of a lawyer. Most grieving heirs use the lawyer who drafted the deceased’s will, or if there was no will, they use their cousin’s mother-in-law’s neighbor’s lawyer.


A Revocable, or Living, Trust can avoid probate.


You establish the trust during your lifetime, title your assets into the trust and make it the beneficiary of your life insurance (consult an attorney before you make a Revocable Trust the beneficiary of your qualified retirement accounts), and at your death, a successor trustee steps in and pays your final bills and taxes and distributes the residue to your heirs. No public list of your assets. No long waits for a court date. No judge’s approval to sell your house or distribute the residue. Most successor trustees can do it without the aid of an attorney, and for much less or no fee.


Yes, a Revocable Trust costs a bit more to establish than a Will—now, but in the long run it save thousands of dollars.


What is the difference between a Will and a Revocable Trust?


Both will take care of your estate (debts and assets) after you die, but a will must be probated in a court. Your Revocable Trust acts just like a will when you die but does not have to be probated. No delay, no unknown costs, no public disclosure of your assets.


Another advantage of a Revocable Trust is that if you can no longer handle your financial affairs, your Successor Trustee can easily step in and take over immediately. If you have no plan in place, someone must go to court to set up a guardianship for you. This will take at least 2 attorneys, one for you and one for the guardian. It is expensive!


Estate Planning &
IRA Beneficiary Trusts

I prepare all documents myself and am there to make sure the signing is done properly. Your file will never be handed off to a paralegal. I specialize in quality, not quantity.

Zona Douthit, Attorney at Law

Phone: (401) 305-8094
Fax: (401) 753-6303
Email: Click here to contact me.

Plan for Your Family's Future

"Good fortune is what happens when opportunity meets with planning."

– Thomas Edison

©2016 All rights reserved. Zona Bouthit, Attorney at Law – – Member of the Rhode Island State Bar