I often receive questions about whether a Will or Trust is better for estate planning purposes. The simple truth is, it depends on what you want to accomplish. If you are faced with this question, here are 5 benefits of a trust to consider:
Trust documents are not filed with the court when the grantor dies. The trust document will be filed with the county to transfer assets. However, though this can be a public record, the information is harder to find and is not published as it can be with a probate of a Will. If you value privacy in your matters, a trust is the way to go.
Though a trust generally does not state who will care for you medically if you become incapacitated (though it can), a successor trustee can be appointed to care for your assets if you are unable to do so, and, in turn, care for your financial needs at this crucial time as well.
(3) Avoid Probate
One of the best benefits of a trust is that your heirs will not have to go through a long and complicated court process, called probate, if you establish a trust. Probates can lead to people claiming an interest who may not have one, or whom you do not want to have an interest. Probate is also time-consuming and emotionally draining for your loved ones. You can save them the headache with a trust. Also, a trust allows trustees to handle out-of-state real estate without filing a probate in every state where property is owned.
(4) Ability to Control Assets after Death
Unlike with a Will, a Trust allows the grantor to control hte use of assets after his/her death, including requiring minors to reach a certain age before distribution, or to receive funding only for certain reasons. With a will, the property passes once the probate is done and though the Will can state the wishes of the deceased, the law does not require restrictions on assets to be followed except for who gets what property.
Some large estates can have tax benefits from trusts. This is a small percentage of estates.