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.
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.
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.
Most states have an estate tax exemption (for example, the exemption in CT is $2M). 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.
A Trust helps you avoid the cost and publicity of probate. Although you may still be admitted to probate, having assets in Trust, or 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 of your estate planning needs, or for any other legal matter, contact Fournier Legal Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860.670.3535 now for a free consultation and planning session.