The benefit of a Trust is to protect your family and assets, and to ease the process of settling your estate.
A Trust is simply a set of instructions. The instructions explain what you want to happen with your estate for beneficiaries, debts, and taxes. It allows you great flexibility in providing for
- special needs children or grandchildren
- the education of children and grandchildren
- children from a previous marriage
- a spouse, children, or grandchildren who are not good with money
- children who have spouses that you think could take advantage of an available fund of money
There is a smorgasbord of options for designing a Trust. You can tailor-make one to disburse your life’s work and protect your loved ones.
There are other benefits of establishing a trust:
- Avoid probate or lessen the hassles in probate.
- With a revocable trust, you can retain control.
- With an irrevocable trust, you could avoid
- an estate recovery from Medicaid,
- scammers who prey on the elderly,
- older parents who are losing capacity to make wise decisions about their assets.
- Private proceedings that are not placed on public record
- Wise, conscious planning for what happens if you live, but are not in a state of mind to take care of yourself or your assets
What is the difference between a Trust and a Last Will and Testament?
Honestly, the two work best together.
The Last Will and Testament will need to be probated. Probate can have a 2-4 month, or more, scheduling gap from the time of death to the court date. During that time, who pays the bills and makes the necessary arrangements with the estate and burial?
- With a Last Will and Testament, a court establishes the executor to have authority to proceed.
- With a Trust, the trustee continues business as usual with no interruption upon date of death. The Trust functions as a separate entity.
The Will can direct that anything not in the Trust can be directed straight to the Trust. Then the trustee can disburse according to the Trust instructions.
Flexibility for Changing Times
One great benefit of Trusts is the ability to create a flexible instrument to change with the times. We learned with 9/11 and COVID that unanticipated changes occur. What was reality in 1980 is not reality in 2022. A Trust incorporates flexibility through a tier of Trustees to make discretionary decisions within a changing set of circumstances. Wills often are a snapshot of a period of time that often do not morph with the changing times. However, Trusts incorporate a power in a Trustee to carry out the trust-maker’s intent .
We Can Help
Currently the estate planning process can occur without you even leaving your home. We are here to help guide you as you make decisions regarding your estate and long term care planning needs. Whatever issue is preventing you from developing a more extensive estate plan, please allow Elder Law of Middle Tennessee to assist you in this process.
For more information, contact our Lebanon, TN office at 615-444-3568 and schedule your appointment today.