Trusts are a popular estate planning instrument and for good reason. Estate planning is about more than designating heirs. It’s about controlling the many things that can happen after your death. Trusts help you avoid probate, retain privacy, and provide detailed instructions for the distribution of assets. These are just a few of the many benefits of trusts for estate planning.
Probate is a legal process that takes place within the courts. Before your assets can be released to your heirs, probate must be completed. The courts review your case, give the opportunity for other potential heirs to come forward, and allow debtors to submit claims. It can take anywhere from a few months to even a few years. One of the most important reasons to create a trust is to avoid the probate process altogether. This allows your heirs to receive your assets more quickly and reduces the chances of unwanted heirs.
Since probate takes place within the court system, the information about your estate becomes a public record. This includes details on your specific assets, debts, and beneficiaries. Creating a trust and avoiding probate allows you and your family to retain privacy. Public information about how much money your heirs receive from your estate can make them targets for financial and other crimes, so privacy is also a helpful safety measure.
Provide Detailed Instructions
Another of the key benefits of trusts for estate planning is the ability to control how money is distributed and spent. Instead of your heirs receiving a lump sum payment of their share of your estate, you can slowly release funds and/or set other conditions. This is particularly helpful when you have younger heirs who may not have the maturity and financial responsibility to properly manage a lump sum inheritance.
More Benefits of Trusts for Estate Planning
There are many different types of trusts to choose from:
- Revocable Trust
- Irrevocable Trust
- ABC Trusts
- Marital Trust
- Generation-Skipping Trust
- Special needs Trust
- Bypass Trust
- Charitable Trusts
- Life Insurance Trust
Each of these has different applications and features. Selecting the right one depends on your particular finances and goals. Your estate planning attorney can help guide you in selecting the right one. If you are looking for a Massachusetts estate planning attorney, contact us to schedule a consultation.