Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

    There are many reasons to do a trust.  

    One reason is that it can simplify things if the person who does the trust ever becomes unable to manage their own affairs.

    Trusts can also be helpful if the person who does the trust even simply gets tired, and does not want to manage their own affairs, even though they still have the mental capacity to do so.

    Of course, as the people who give the “probate avoidance” seminars also state, a trust can help one avoid probate.

    This can be worthwhile.

    A probate is not something to be afraid of, however, and in some cases, it can actually be cheaper and simpler to do estate planning based on a Will rather than a trust, even though the Will may need to be probated eventually, and a probate may be avoided if there is a trust.

    It is also worth noting that sometimes, even with a trust, there is a need for a probate, if there are assets that are not properly held in the trust.
    A probate and/or a probate like proceeding can also be needed where there is a trust if it is important to cut off unknown creditors, or if there is a chance that the estate plan may be challenged by a disgruntled relative.

    It can be important to cut off creditors if the decedent practiced a profession for which there might be liability, or if the person was in an accident, or if the estate otherwise might be sued for some reason.

    It is also worth noting that it can be more expensive to change or update a trust based estate plan than to change or update a Will based estate plan.

    Working with a skilled elder law attorney can be very useful when working through these options, to select the right option.

    Also, what is the right option at one point in your life may be less optimum at some later point, so reviewing the situation with an elder law lawyer from time to time can also be well worth while.