As noted in prior posts, estate planning is not only for the wealthy. Anyone who is married, has children, or has any assets, should have at least some basic estate planning in place. We also strongly recommend a Revocable Living Trust for some families. This is an overview of four of the best reasons to have a Trust in place.
- Your Children. A Trust will help ensure that your children will be provided for according to guidelines you establish and without the hassle and cost of probate court oversight. This is particularly true if you have minor children, because without clear direction in a Trust, the probate court will force your estate to name a guardian (or name one for you!) and will require the guardian to be subject to the directives and oversight of the court on a periodic basis. With a Trust, the trustee you name in advance will be in control of this process, and hence in control of making decisions for the health, education, maintenance, and support of your children.
- Your Business. A Trust gives you the ability to name a trustee to manage your business according to your direction. You may direct the trustee to liquidate, sell to certain named individuals, or continue to manage the business, etc.
- Money. Most states have an estate tax exemption that is – unlike the federal exemption – not portable. Incorporating a bypass or credit shelter Trust into your estate plan will ensure you receive the maximum benefit of the available exemption without restricting your ability to enjoy all of the family assets. Under the current taxing scheme in CT, just this one trust could result in a savings of more than $100K to your estate, and potentially more if and as your estate and business valuations continue to grow.
- Probate Avoidance. A Trust helps you avoid the cost and publicity of probate. Although you may still be admitted to probate in CT, having assets in a Trust, or naming a Trust as the beneficiary of your Will, will significantly decrease the time and cost necessary to get through the state-mandated probate process.
For assistance with any legal needs related to your business or estate planning, contact Fournier Legal Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860.670.3535.
Joseph E. Fournier is an Attorney and a CPA who has more than twenty years of experience in a variety of business legal matters, including start-ups and company formations, drafting shareholder and operating agreements, contracts, employment law, commercial litigation, tax planning and audit defense, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). He also handles estate planning matters, such as business succession planning, wills, trusts, and probate.