Trusts are commonly used to distribute assets upon death. There are many advantages to using a Trust and not any real disadvantages. At one time, Trusts were too expensive for persons with smaller estates. This is no longer true. The most common type of trust used is the revocable grantor trust, or “Living Trust”, as it is frequently referred to. A Trust can provide the flexibility you need to control what happens to your assets. Our attorneys can create a Trust for you to achieve your goals.
Advantages of living trusts include:
Probate avoidance: With a fully funded trust, there is no need to go through the probate court to administer the estate. This can save thousands of dollars in court costs and legal fees. A Will on the other hand must go through the probate court to be administered.
Privacy: A Will becomes a public record when filed with the court. A trust always remains private.
Delayed distribution of assets: You can delay the distribution of assets to beneficiaries after your death. For instance, you may give your child a 1/3 of their share at age 25, a 1/3 share at age 30, and the remainder at age 35. This may be a great benefit as giving an 18 year old a lump sum of money may not be the wisest decision. You can also state that the child can use the funds for college, health reasons, necessary support, etc., when needed.
Parents with minor children: In the event of death of the parents, a trust allows you to appoint the same person(s) as guardian and trustee. This will allow the person(s) raising your children to use the funds as is necessary for the benefit of your children. This reduces the financial strain that may be put on the new family. This is also an excellent planning tool for young parents just starting out who have not accumulated a lot of savings. You can purchase a term-life insurance policy for a very small cost and use it to fund the trust in the event of death.
Incapacity: Any asset held by the trust can be managed by the successor trustee in the event of your incapacity. This will preclude the need for a court proceeding to appoint a conservator.
Special Needs Trust: A Special Needs Trust is an excellent tool when you have a loved one with special needs who is, or may be, receiving public benefits (i.e. SSI or Medicaid). These types of public benefits place a limit on the amount of assets the individual can have. If you leave money or assets to an individual with special needs it may cause them to exceed the amount of assets they are allowed to have and disqualify them from public assistance.
Our attorneys can create a Trust for you to make sure your assets are distributed in a manner that you desire.