Should you create a trust or two as part of your estate plan?

There are many legal tools that an individual can choose to utilize or not utilize when constructing an estate plan. We frequently write about how individuals may use wills to hand down property after they pass away. We also frequently mention that advance health care directives can help individuals plan for incapacitation and end of life care.

In addition to these two important tools, trusts are probably the next most frequently utilized estate planning instrument. It is important to understand that trusts vary significantly from wills. While nearly everyone can benefit from drafting a will, not everyone is in a position to create a trust. However, trusts can be extremely useful in a number of different situations.

You can choose to execute numerous kinds of trusts. Some parents who have children with special needs create trusts in order to ensure that their children's care will be provided for after the parents pass on. Some parents create trusts for their heirs subject to certain monetary restrictions and conditions that their heirs must be bound by. These are just a few examples of how parents in particular use trusts.

However, individuals frequently create trusts instead of simply handing money down through wills in order to avoid troublesome tax consequences, to ensure that charities are given funds subject to certain conditions and to shelter assets from certain long-term health care costs. If you think that a trust may be right for you, your family or your ultimate wishes, please contact an attorney who can advise you of which options might be best for you.

Source: Post Crescent, "Do you need a trust? It depends on your estate planning goals," Nov. 2, 2013

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