Contrary to popular belief, the need for a trust is not tied directly to your level of wealth, although affluent individuals are generally more predisposed to establishing a trust, or multiple trusts, for a variety of reasons.  The need to establish a trust is more generational, based on the simple fact that life has just gotten more complicated.   So here are 7 non-tax reasons to establish a trust:

  1. Avoiding probate proceedings so that your heirs can quickly transfer assets of a decedent with privacy and at a reduced cost.
  2. Protecting heirs from depleting their inheritance by staggering distributions over a number of years or upon the accomplishment of certain milestones, such as graduating from college.
  3. Providing for disabled beneficiaries, and beneficiaries with substance abuse issues. A trust can allow a disabled beneficiary to maintain their eligibility for government benefits, and can prevent a beneficiary with substance abuse problems from using their inheritance to fuel their addiction.
  4. Control how your assets will be passed down through younger generations by ensuring your estate is passed down through your bloodline and not to your in-laws or surviving spouse’s new partner.
  5. Creditor protection for your heirs from their creditors, or ex-spouses in the event of a divorce.
  6. Consolidation of assets during your lifetime, which allows for efficient management in the event of a disability and upon your death.
  7. Planning for a blended family, when you are in a second marriage and have your children, step-children, and possibly, our A trust can ensure that your spouse and that all of your children will be taken care of after your death.

Many people fear they will lose control of their assets by establishing a trust.  This is simply not the case, as most trusts do not involve using a bank or trust company as a trustee.  Most clients who create a trust act as their own trustee during their lifetimes and will name a child or other family member as their successor trustee.

Ultimately, estate planning and establishing a trust is about maintaining control, so that your assets pass to whom you want, when you want, at the least cost, and in the most efficient manner.

Paul Kellogg is an attorney in Cincinnati with the Phillips Law Firm, Inc. Paul’s practice focuses on providing comprehensive estate planning and probate services to families and business owners, as well as serving as outside general counsel to entrepreneurs and businesses where he provides guidance and advice on a wide variety of transactions and disputes.  He can be reached at (513) 985-2500 or via email at [email protected].   Please explore Paul’s other articles on estate planning and business on the Phillips Law Firm Blog page

 

The article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Anyone contemplating taking legal action is urged to obtain proper legal advice from an attorney licensed in your particular jurisdiction.