1. Control distribution of assets – You wouldn’t hand over your car keys to a child who has not had proper preparation driving, and chances are you would not want to hand over all your assets to a teenager either. But if both parents die at the same time, or while their children are still minors, the children would inherit all the assets upon their 18th birthdays. A trust allows you to specify how and when you want your children to inherit.
2. Protect assets from creditors – Placing an inheritance in a trust ensures that those assets are protected from your heir’s, or their spouse’s, creditors. A properly drafted trust can protect all your assets throughout your beneficiary’s lifetime from divorce, liability, lawsuits, and other judgments.
3. Protect inheritance from spendthrift heirs – Not everyone is good with money. If your heirs fall into that category, you can use a trust to ensure the assets are not frittered away due to spendthrift behavior.
4. Provide for children of prior marriage or relationship – You can use a trust to both provide for your current spouse and any children from a previous relationship. By doing so, you can prevent pain, confusion, and arguing, which may exist in blended family situations.
5. Provide for a special needs heir – Leaving assets outright to an heir with special needs could disqualify them from receiving important government benefits. Leaving those assets in trust bypasses this potential risk.
6. Avoid probate – Assets can pass to heirs without going through probate by using a trust, saving beneficiaries the time and expense of the probate process. Probate is an expensive, public, and unnecessary court process you can keep your family from having to deal with.
7. Protect privacy – Once a will is entered into probate, it becomes public record, and anyone may access information on what someone inherited. A trust, on the other hand, is a private document that protects your family’s privacy.
If you need to arrange a consultation with an estate planning attorney, contact Adkins Law or call (704) 274-5677.
Did you know that having a will means probate, and potentially probate court? Without an estate plan, your estate cannot be settled without the delays and court fee costs - plus, your assets will be a matter of public record. With an estate plan, you can avoid the probate process entirely. Not only does this save your family legal costs and attorney fees, it makes the process much easier for your spouse and family.
Do you own a business? Without an estate plan, your family could lose control of the business. With an estate plan, you choose who will own and control the business after you die. Plus, you can avoid having the business and its assets frozen after you die.
Do you have a 401(k), IRA, or similar retirement account? Without an estate plan, your designated beneficiary may not reflect your current wishes, and may result in burdensome tax consequences for your heirs. With an estate plan, you can choose your preferred beneficiary, and control access to large accounts - plus, you determine who gets what is left.
Would you prefer that your assets stay in your own family? Sure - who wants to give their hard earned money and the assets they have accumulated over their lifetime to any person outside of their family? Without an estate plan, your child's spouse may end up with your money. If your child divorces, half of your assets could potentially go to that in-law spouse. With an estate plan, you can set up a trust that ensures that your assets will stay in your family, and pass down to your grandchildren.
If you die, will your spouse and children be able to survive financially? Without an estate plan, if you go into a nursing facility before you die, your family will be unable to maintain its current living standard. With an estate plan, you can protect your assets and give your family financial security.
Were you aware that an inheritance can cost your child their disability benefits? Without an estate plan, a child with special needs may be disqualified from receiving benefits, forcing the use of his or her inheritance to pay for care. With an estate plan in place, you can set up a Special Needs Trust that will allow the child to remain eligible for government benefits while using the trust assets to provide more support for your child.
What if your family is a blended family due to prior marriages? Without an estate plan, children from prior marriages may be accidentally disinherited. With an estate plan, you can support your current spouse and provide for your children from a prior marriage at the same time.