Living trusts are popular when it comes to estate planning
For people beginning the estate planning process, the question of whether to establish a living trust will likely be part of the conversation. A living trust can be an attractive option to many, allowing for the transfer of asset ownership in the name of the trust while maintaining the ability to use the assets as you normally would. At the time of your passing, the assets would be managed by the trustee you have named and then distributed to beneficiaries according to your wishes.
Trusts may offer benefits
Though they aren't for everyone, there can be several benefits that make a trust a good choice. Knowing whether the time is right to consider a trust depends upon your goals for your assets, as well as your family dynamics and your health.
Signs you may want to establish a living trust
Several instances may indicate it's time for you to consider a trust. Here are some of the situations that may signal a living trust is for you.
1. If you think someone might contest your will.
Family relationships are complicated, and situations can get even more complex after a family member dies. If you think your will might be contested after you pass, a living trust can help guarantee your wishes will be followed.
2. If you are aging or facing health problems.
As we age or experience health problems, we may find it inspires us to get serious about estate planning. A trust can ensure you've made your intentions clear and have simplified financial and personal matters for those you care about. It can give you the peace of mind you deserve as a part of healthy aging or while you focus on your healing.
3. If you want to support a beneficiary with a disability.
If you have a loved one with a disability whom you want to help support financially, a trust may allow you to provide financial support to them without jeopardizing the continuation of their government assistance benefits.
4. If you have privacy concerns.
A trust can also have privacy benefits, as it doesn't become public record, unlike probate, which becomes part of the public court record. You don't have to be a public figure to prefer your assets be allocated privately or protect your beneficiaries' privacy. A trust can keep information about your assets and beneficiaries private.
5. If you want to protect your assets from creditors.
Creditors can make a sizable dent in assets. A trust can help protect your assets from creditors, whether they seek payment from you or your beneficiaries.
6. If you want to protect your assets from estate taxes.
A trust may eliminate or reduce estate taxes at the time of your death.
7. If you prefer to avoid probate.
A living trust transfers assets without going through probate. Probate can be costly and time-consuming, delaying the transition of assets to beneficiaries and possibly tying up financial accounts for an extended period.
8. If you want control over asset disbursement.
A trust lets you have control over how and when your beneficiaries receive your assets. If, for example, you would like a young person in the family to receive an inheritance, you could determine at what age they are responsible enough to handle it with care. Likewise, if you have a beneficiary who doesn't manage money well, you could determine intervals at which they receive your assets during their lifetime.
Is it time for a trust? We can help.
If you're still unsure whether a trust is right for you, it's important to know you have the option of establishing a revocable living trust. That allows you to adjust assets as needed, moving them in and out of the trust as you want during your lifetime, even eliminating the trust entirely if you decide to.
If it's time to start learning about your options for establishing a trust, consult with a trusted, local attorney. When you're ready, our legal team is here to help. Contact us to learn how we can ensure your assets are protected and go to your beneficiaries in precisely the manner you wish.
By Tony Gingrasso, La Crosse Estate Planning Attorney. For an estate planning attorney in La Crosse, call Tony at 608-784-5678.