I hear this question a lot when I teach seminars. If you’ve been to a seminar, you have heard me say that “trusts come in many flavors.” There are all sorts of trusts, and whether you should have one depends entirely on your situation. I would say that about one-third of my clients need some type of trust. And for the other two-thirds, the cost simply isn’t warranted.
Here are some reasons you might need one:
(1) you have a special needs child or grandchild or sibling that you want to leave money to,
(2) you want your family to avoid probate,
(3) you have a complex distribution pattern that you want followed after your death, or
(4) you have over $1 million in assets and you want to do estate tax planning.
Here are some reasons you might not need one:
(1) you don’t have a special needs child, grandchild, or sibling,
(2) you don’t have a taxable estate (or you do but don’t mind paying taxes), or
(3) your assets are fairly simple and you’ve named beneficiaries on each of them.
These two lists are by no means exhaustive, they just show you some typical scenarios. The only way to really know whether you need a trust is to meet with an elder law attorney who can review your assets, your family tree, and your wishes, and from there determine what the best course of action will be to transfer those assets to your family after your death, with the least amount of trouble.
Please call us so that we can help you determine whether or not you need a trust, and to make the inheritance process as easy as possible for your family.