The rock star Prince once sang, “You don’t have to be rich to be my girl.” You also don’t have to be rich to take advantage of a trust when setting up your estate plan. Though many people believe their assets are not valuable or complex enough to justify using a trust, the fact is that many could benefit from doing so.
One of the great benefits of a trust is that it may be used to avoid probate, which can make the process easier and less expensive. It can also give the grantor greater control over who gets to inherit the money and other assets — and what heirs can do with those resources.
For example, a revocable trust can be used to control the assets and distribute them a little at a time. Beneficiaries may lose the inheritance if they violate certain conditions. While in the trust, the assets are not subject to the estate tax, which begins above $5.25 million per person or at more than $10 million for couples.
Even if you are fairly young, a trust can suit your needs. Couples with young children can provide for their children while having those funds responsibly managed by a trustee. Single people can use a trust to direct who would take over their financial affairs if you become incapacitated and after you pass on.
Every person’s situation and goals for their estate plan are unique, and a trust may not be right for everybody. But trusts should not be rejected out of hand as only for the super-wealthy.
Source: Miami Herald, “Age-old question: Do I need a trust?” Julie Landry Laviolette, Aug. 23, 2013