You Might Consider a Trust When . . .
There are actually many reasons to consider a Trust. Matthew Shapiro, Esq., of the Rice Law Firm, and I discussed Trusts, and their benefits, during a recent PlanStrongerTV™ show.
Do You Need a Trust?The best way to find out is to consult with an attorney, but in the meantime, ask yourself this: After I die, “who” do I want to get “what,” and “when” should they get it? Now, if you only have two children and you want your belongings (and money) divided equally between them at the time of your death, there is probably little need for a Trust. However, if you have children split between marriages, or have a child with special needs, in a shaky marriage, with an addiction problem, or with financial instability issues – a Trust could be a smart decision.
What Does It Do?
With a Trust you give instructions on what you want distributed to your heirs when you pass – how you want it distributed, and when. It can even specify the purpose for which the money should be used.
Who Is in Control?
You are. If you set up the Trust so that you are the Trustee during your lifetime, you can continue to make any changes you deem necessary to the Trust. Should you become incapacitated (temporarily or permanently) or pass away, the control of the trust becomes the responsibility of the person you have chosen to be the Successor Trustee. It will be that person’s responsibility to make sure the “instructions” you set forth in the trust are carried out.
Are Trusts More Private?
Yes. Unlike a Will that travels through the probate process and is recorded in the public records, a Trust is not subject to probate. You do not have to tell your heirs that they are beneficiaries, so it is possible to continue to make changes until you pass away (at which time the Trust becomes irrevocable).
I’m often asked if Trusts are expensive and, therefore, only beneficial to the wealthy. In most cases, the answer is, “no.” A simple Trust can be set up for a reasonable cost. Like anything else, it often pays to shop around to different attorneys. I serve as a Successor Trustee for several of my clients, so if you would like to know more about the process of establishing a Trust, please call my office so we can discuss your situation further.