When people are in the process of how to handle their assets during their lifetimes and after they die, many may benefit from considering setting up a trust. Trusts can be valuable tools to use in estate planning, as they have a number of benefits.
Trusts can be established in order to reduce estate and gift taxes that come with larger estates. They are also more private than wills, which go through a public probate process. As trusts do not, the often lengthy and costly process can be avoided.
Depending on the situation, a trust can be established in order to care for a disabled relative while still allowing the relative to retain the disability and Medicaid benefits for which they are eligible. People can choose revocable trusts that can be terminated or changed or irrevocable ones that cannot be revoked or changed depending on their goals. Through trusts, people also have the ability to stipulate under what conditions and when benefits will be payable to intended beneficiaries, conditioning disbursement on the beneficiary completing college, reaching a certain age or another contingency. When a person has remarried and they want to ensure their estate will pass to children they have from their previous marriage after their spouse passes away, they can set up a trust to ensure that will occur.
There are many reasons why people may wish to set up a trust. Depending on the complexity and size of the estate, doing so can be a very good method of passing assets to chosen beneficiaries. When planning an estate, people may wish to speak with their estate planning attorney regarding the advisability of forming a trust in their particular case. People should have a clear understanding of their goals in order to select the proper type of trust to be used.
Source: CNN Money, "Estate planning: Is a trust beneficial?", November 25, 2014