If you have not consulted with an estate planning attorney about setting up a trust for your assets, now is a great time to contact one. You may be unsure of the benefits of a trust for your family. Significant wealth is not the only reason to consider a trust.
It’s Easier on Your Beneficiaries
As your family grieves your passing, the last thing they want is to deal with the courts and probate. Even if you have a will, your estate will go through a probate process. However, if you have a trust, upon your passing the assets go into that trust and the trustees. That way, the trustee, rather than the courts, deal with distribution of your property and accounts. This is even more beneficial when you have a property in another state, as many Florida residents do, because they will avoid probate in two states.
Privacy & Security
A trust provides greater privacy than a will because it is not filed with the courts upon your death. Probate of a will is handled in the courts and anyone can file a claim to contest your will. Although there are cases when a trust can be contested, it is much more difficult. In short, a trust helps prevent litigation and allows your beneficiaries access to your assets more quickly than with a will.
Reduce Tax Liability
Perhaps one of the most cited and biggest benefits of a trust is minimizing tax liability. If you have a significant estate, you may be looking for legal ways to minimize your beneficiaries’ tax liability upon your passing. Although you may not be able to avoid all taxes, a trust does help you avoid or reduce state and federal taxes.
Protection of Government Benefits
If you are in a situation where you have a child or grandchild with disabilities who receives government benefits and plan on leaving your estate to that child, you may be putting their benefits at risk. Many government programs are needs based and if your beneficiary suddenly has a great deal of money, they may lose those benefits. When you put the funds into a trust and the trustee manages the funds, the Medicaid, Social Security or other benefits remain.
The staff at Wagstaff Law Office understands that estate planning and setting up a will or trust can be an emotional and difficult topic. As experienced estate planning attorneys, we will help you understand and determine if a trust is recommended for your estate and your beneficiaries. Call us today at (727) 584-8182 to schedule your initial consultation.