Do you think trusts are only for the wealthy? While it is true that wealthy Americans commonly use trusts to protect and pass their wealth, there are a number of important reasons Americans of modest means should consider the use of trusts, too. Here are 7 of them:
1. Control distribution of assets. You probably wouldn’t just hand over your car keys to a child who has had no proper preparation for driving, and chances are you won’t want to hand over all your assets to a teenager either. But if both parents were to die without a trust, the children would inherit ALL the family assets upon their 18th birthdays. A trust, on the other hand, allows you to specify not only how, but when you want your children to inherit assets.
2. Protect assets from creditors. Placing an inheritance in a trust ensures that those assets are protected from your heir’s — or because California is a community property state, their spouse’s – creditors. A Lifetime Asset Protection or Wealth Creation Trust can accomplish just that.
3. Protect inheritance from spendthrift heirs. Not everyone is manages their money well. If your heirs are part of this group, a trust can be used to ensure the assets are not squandered due to spendthrift behavior.
4. Protect inheritance for children of a prior marriage. A trust can be useful in both providing for your current spouse and children, as well as any children from a previous marriage.
5. Provide for a special needs heir. Leaving assets outright to someone with special needs might disqualify them from receiving important government benefits. Don’t fall into that trap! By leaving assets in a trust you can bypasses this risk.
6. Avoid probate. With a trust, assets can pass to heirs without going through probate, saving beneficiaries the financial and emotional drain of a lengthy court process. Probate is expensive, public, and also completely unnecessary. Use a trust to keep your family out of court during their time of grieving.
7. Protect privacy. Once a will is entered into probate, it becomes a matter of public record and open season for creditors and predators. A trust, on the other hand, is a private document that can be administered between your heirs and their attorney, protecting your family’s privacy.
If you would like more information about how a trust can be used to protect almost ANY American family, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Family Wealth Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.