Wills are the cornerstone for estate planning, but they are not necessarily the best option for every estate. A trust can help in certain situations.
A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that contains in its provisions how your assets will be distributed at the time of your passing, often without the involvement of a probate court. A trust has flexibility and can be crafted to accomplish a variety of goals. Some of those goals include preserving assets for minors until they are adults, helping to minimize estate taxes or benefitting a charity.
One of the key benefits to a trust is the ability to control your assets both during and after your lifetime. This is especially important for people with special circumstances, like those passing on a closely held business or those with a family member with special needs. In the trust, you can also specify that certain conditions must be met before the asset transfer is complete.
Revocable living trusts provide a great deal of flexibility. With a revocable trust, you can transfer ownership of some or all of your property into the name of the trust, but you maintain the same level of control over the assets that you did before. You gain the assurance that your wishes are carried out if something happens to you.
Another reason to have a trust as part of your estate plan is to preserve those assets for any beneficiaries who may end up inheriting as minors. Whether it be a minor child, grandchild or other individual, if you don’t have a trust set up, then the probate court will get involved and a guardianship will likely have to be established to protect the inherited assets until the minor reaches the age of majority. With a trust in your will, you can have those assets placed in a trust, name the trustee who will oversee the trust, and specify at what age or ages the minor will receive the inheritance, and avoid court supervision.
These are just a few instances of where you might need a trust. For a more complete explanation and analysis, contact the estate planning attorneys at Aevitas Law.