Estate planning is intimidating. Once you start an initial conversation about putting together a plan you may find yourself overwhelmed by all the options to consider. Should you just get a will, or should you consider having a trust, too? What exactly is a trust anyway?
A trust is, in its most basic form, a legal tool that can help you better control your money. The following will help answer some of the more common questions about trusts and help you determine if this legal tool is right to help you meet your estate planning goals.
FAQ #1: Who needs a trust?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. Only you know if a trust is right for your needs. However, you can answer this question by considering the following:
- Do you care when your children or loved ones get their inheritance?
- Do you care how an inheritance is used?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, you will want to consider getting a trust. A trust can put guidelines on when your children get their inheritance. Without it, minor children may find themselves trying to manage a significant windfall when they turn 18. Unfortunately, not many of us will consider investment strategies if given a check for hundreds of thousands of dollars when we turn 18 years old.
You can help better ensure the inheritance sets them up for a lifetime of financial security by using a trust to provide smaller payments throughout their life, instead of one big check when they come of age. This can also be structured to help fund specific things, like college or health care needs.
FAQ #2: Is there a minimum estate value that triggers the need for a trust?
In general, financial experts recommend trusts for those who have an estate valued at $1 million or have multiple forms of real estate or business interests.
FAQ #3: How do I get a trust?
A trust is formed when the creator drafts a trust document. This document generally lists a trustee (the person who will manage the trust) and beneficiaries. The document can be used to achieve a number of goals, determined by the provisions used to form the trust. These can include protection from creditors as well as a reduction of tax obligations.