There are so many myths and misconceptions about estate planning that I feel compelled to dispel some of them in this forum. Consider, for example, the myth that trusts are only for the wealthiest of families, the so-called “one percent.” In truth, there are many different types of trusts, capable of helping “regular folks” accomplish a wide range of goals.
Let’s start with what is known as a revocable trust. Many families use this trust for the sole purpose of ensuring their estate doesn’t have to go through probate. The probate process in Massachusetts can take many months, during which time beneficiaries, including the surviving spouse, cannot receive their inheritances—a potential catastrophe if bills such as mortgages, insurance, car loans, and the like go unpaid. Probate is also a public process, meaning anyone can get information about the decedent’s debts, creditors, and more.
Another reason to have a revocable trust is to protect an adult child’s inheritance. You might want to consider this option if you’re worried about your children getting divorced or their inability to make wise financial decisions.
If you’re concerned about the high cost of long-term medical care (and who isn’t?), I may be able to use an irrevocable trust to help you become eligible for various programs to cover the cost of care while protecting your hard-earned life savings.
Another type of trust, called a special needs trust, allows funds to be set aside for a disabled loved one to pay for goods and services not covered by public programs such as MassHealth and Supplemental Security Income while still maintaining eligibility for these vital programs.
These are just some examples of how trusts can benefit a host of individuals and families. To see if a trust is right for you, I’m always happy to discuss your options.
Until next time, take care….