estate planning binder

A Powerful and Affordable Estate Planning Tool

When most people think of Estate Planning they think of a Will. A key component in many Estate Plans is a Revocable Living Family Trust.

A Trust is similar to Will because it designates who will receive property. However, unlike a Will it can designate when someone receives money or property. It can protect heirs from creditors, greedy spouses, or foolish spending.

One of a Trust’s most attractive features is that a trust avoids probate court with its costs, delays and frustration. Unlike a Will, a Trust does not require any court supervision to work. For instance, a homeowner may designate that the home be sold and the proceeds divided between children or may choose who is to receive it. In either case court approval is unnecessary.  However, a standard probate procedure can require months to complete.

A Trust may put conditions on the disbursements. For instance, it may specify that money not be distributed until a person reaches a certain age. Someone with special needs or a substance abuse problem may need to have assets managed.

A Trust does not require a separate tax return while its creator is living. The Client as the Trust creator is not required to file reports or obtain a separate tax identification number.

For business owners or farmers it is a powerful tool for transition planning. For most individuals the costs of setting up a trust is comparable to creating a Will.

A Will or a Trust, which is right for Me?

A Trust is often preferable to a Will in the following situations:

  • Owners of real estate (homes, property and mineral interests).

  • Farm, ranch and business owners as part of a transfer or succession plan.

  • Special needs dependents.

  • People who need to protect heirs from foolish spending (e.g.  controlling distributions until certain ages or milestones are reached).

  • Those who need to protect heirs who have creditors, greedy spouses or who are lawsuit targets.

  • Those wishing to fund education for grandchildren.

What does a Trust Cost?

It depends upon the needs of the client.  A Trust that is designed to distribute property without going through probate costs about the same as a Will.  Trusts that are more involved do cost more.  Want a flat fee quote?  Send a message.

Other names:

  • Family Trust
  • Living Trust
  • Revocable Trust
  • Inter vivos Trust