When to use a trust for Estate Planning?
I’m going to tell you when you want to use a trust for planning and when you can get away with a Will plus some additional planning.
Hi. I’m Gary, the owner and principal attorney of DeWitt Law in Northwest Arkansas. I’ve helped 1000’s of people here in NW Arkansas protect family, protect themselves, avoid probate, and protect assets for peace of mind.
You don’t always need a trust for great estate planning and to avoid probate.
However, here are some of the times you want to use a trust.
You cherish your privacy and your family’s privacy. Wills are public. Trusts are private. Wills expose your family’s financial information to “financial predators.”
Wills require court. Trusts don’t.
You have concerns about your children getting along. You can leave specific instructions and appoint an independent trustee. A trust can leave simple instructions of sell everything and split the money.
You are worried about your children getting divorced and don’t want to give your money to their ex-spouse. The proper trust can help.
You want to leave complex instructions about your estate. Or maybe even simple instructions. Wills can be complex, but Wills require probate. A trust allows you to be very specific about what, when, how, and how much people get. And your family avoids court with a trust.
You want to spread the money out over time. It is easier to do this with a trust. You get full control over when and how the money is distributed. It can be yearly or monthly. For example you can spread it out in even monthly payments over 10 years.
Your children have credit problems. A trust can be setup for them to protect them from creditors. As long as they leave the money in trust, the creditors can’t get access to it.
Your children have an addiction to alcohol, drugs, gambling, or something else. A trust can be created to keep the bulk of the money out of their hands but pay for their essential needs. Those needs include health, education, maintenance, and support.
You have children under 18 years old. You can control when and how they get the money. You decide who is in charge of the money.
You have children with special needs receiving means tested benefits. They don’t have to be left out. They can get the benefits of an inheritance without losing their other benefits. We have a trust just for this.
I promised to talk about when a Will plus additional planning works. First, none of the above applies. If none of the above apply and you have a straightforward estate, you can get away with a Will plus additional planning tools instead of a trust. The goal of these plans is to keep all your major assets out of probate leaving very little to deal with.
If you want to know more, go to DeWitt.law/ep
If you would like to discuss this and more, call (479)717-6300 or go to DeWitt.law.