Trusts have long been a favored estate planning tool of the wealthy because of the advantages they provide in protecting assets and preserving wealth through carefully considered distribution strategies. There are also several reasons why middle-class families would want to consider the use of a trust, including these:
You want to control asset distribution. A trust can help you distribute an inheritance over a certain period of time, which can be particularly useful if you have younger heirs you don’t want to inherit all at once.
You want to protect assets from creditors. You can protect an inheritance from your heir’s creditors – or the creditors of his or her spouse – by placing them in a trust.
You want to preserve an inheritance for a spendthrift heir. Many family fortunes have been lost to spendthrift heirs. Putting an inheritance in a trust helps prevent this.
You want to protect the inheritance of children from a previous marriage. If you are remarried, a trust will allow you to provide for your current spouse as well as preserve an inheritance for the children of your previous marriage.
You want to provide for a special needs person. If you have a loved one with special needs that you want to provide for, leaving them assets outright can do more harm than good since it could disqualify them from important government benefits. You can bypass this risk by placing the assets in a trust for their benefit instead.
You want to avoid probate. Probate can be both lengthy and costly; assets placed in a trust pass immediately to heirs without having to go through the probate process.
You want to maintain privacy. A will is a public document, but a trust is private.
At The Estate, Trust and Elder Law Firm, P.L. we help our Treasure Coast clients develop and implement comprehensive estate planning strategies personally tailored to their unique situation, needs, and goals. Contact us for your free initial consultation at one of our conveniently located offices in Fort Pierce, Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee.