As Tom and Jessica worked on their estate plan, a friend suggested the look into creating a trust. Tom laughed because, obviously, on rich people need trusts. However, he and Jessica started researching trusts and learned, to their surprise, that many people can benefit from adding a trust to their estate plan.
Trusts, a Common Estate Planning Tool for the Masses
People can talk about trusts all day long, but not really understand them. One definition of ‘trust’ states that it is “an entity created to hold assets for the benefit of certain persons or entities with a trustee managing the trust . . .” What this really means is:
A grantor (also known as a settlor) signs a trust document creating the trust and naming a trustee to manage the trust assets for one or more beneficiaries.
Some trusts can be changed easily (revocable), while others are difficult or impossible to alter (irrevocable). One thing common with all trusts is that they have to be funded, that is, have assets transferred to the trust.
Sure, Some Rich People Need Trusts, but not Only Rich People
Some trusts actually are more suited for people who have to worry about handling their high net worth. However, there are options that suit the rest of us:
For example, revocable living trusts offer benefits that don’t require wealth:
- Probate Avoidance. No matter the size of your probate estate, avoiding probate is usually best. When you transfer your assets to a revocable living trust, they may pass directly to your heirs without the need for probate.
- Avoid Guardianship or Conservatorship Proceedings. Again, this is not a “rich person” thing. Anyone can become incapacitated and need a trusted person to care for them.
- Confidentiality. As your Will passes through probate, it becomes part of the public record. In most jurisdictions, almost anyone can view your Will. However, the terms of a trust usually remains confidential.
Find Out if a Trust Is Right for You.
Whether you need a trust or not depends on your particular circumstances. The attorneys at Miller Estate and Elder Law know how to help you with estate planning and probate. For a free consultation, contact us at 256-472-1900. Miller Estate and Elder Law is now located at 818 Leighton Avenue in Anniston, but we serve clients in Gadsden, Hoover, Talladega, Vestavia Hills, and surrounding areas.
Also, visit our website to learn more about our free workshops and guides.