Trusts are one of the most popular estate planning tools. Many websites suggest that everyone should get a trust as a way to avoid probate. However, before getting a trust there are some things you should consider.
Trusts have become so popular that many estate planning attorneys have gotten used to new clients visiting the attorney for the sole purpose of getting a trust. The clients have heard elsewhere that they need a trust, usually to avoid probate. However, just because trusts are popular, does not mean everyone needs to get one. The Times Herald-Record recently published a list of questions, in an article titled "Bonnie Kraham: When is a trust a better option?," to help determine if you might need a trust.
The questions include:
- How much of your estate will go through probate? If avoiding probate is your goal, there are other ways to go about it and many of your assets might already be set up to do so.
- Do you own out-of-state property? If you have real estate in more than one state, probate will have to be filed in each state if you rely on a will for your estate plan.
- Do you have children with special needs? Trusts are a good way to provide for children who need special help.
- Do you wish to protect your assets from nursing home costs? Certain types of trusts, if set up early enough, may protect your assets from nursing homes and Medicaid spend-down.
Those are just a few of the questions to consider before deciding you need a trust. The best thing you can do is to go to an experienced estate planning attorney with an open mind. Tell the attorney what your estate goals are and the attorney can help you find the best estate planning tools to achieve those goals.
Reference: Times Herald-Record (October 2, 2014) "Bonnie Kraham: When is a trust a better option?"