A trust is an important estate planning tool that can help estate planners achieve their estate planning goals. For that reason, estate planners should be familiar with the benefits of a trust and what is can do for them.
- Avoid probate: the probate process can be costly and lengthy and can even take between months and up to a year to complete. Using a trust in the estate plan can help the estate be resolved in a more timely and more inexpensive manner.
- Maintain privacy and confidentiality: the probate process is a public process. During the probate process, financial and business information can become part of the public record once the estate is presented for probate. A trust can maintain privacy and confidentiality, as only the trustee and the beneficiaries will have access to the information.
- Protect beneficiaries: a trust can help protect beneficiaries from lawsuits, creditors or certain financial ramifications of divorce.
- Provide for any children with special needs: trusts come in different types for different uses and a special needs trust can help provide for the healthcare and personal needs of a minor child or adult with special needs. At the same time, a special needs trust can help ensure the beneficiary remains eligible for public benefits.
- Preserve family wealth: a trust can help preserve family wealth from being lost in divorces or remarriages.
- Maximize flexibility: a trust can provide flexibility for the estate planner because they dictate the terms of the trust and can place restrictions on how trust assets are managed to direct trust assets.
- Reduce family conflict: challenging a trust is more difficult than challenging a will so it is more likely that the estate planner’s clearly articulated wishes outlined in a trust will be understood and respected by heirs.
There are may benefits to having a trust as part of an estate plan. Because of that, estate planners should understand what trusts do during the estate planning process so they can decide if they want to include one as part of their estate plan.