Trusts are among the most powerful tools in the estate planner’s toolbox. They come in many different “flavors” and are capable of helping you accomplish an impressive number of important goals. Trusts can provide you with complete control over your assets while you are alive and even after you pass away. They can protect your assets, your autonomy, your heirs’ inheritances, your privacy, your legacy, and a great deal more.
At Biddinger & Estelle, PC, we can help you understand the different types of trusts available, what each will help you accomplish, and design a trust or combination of trusts to achieve all of your planning objectives.
Is a Trust Right for You?
One of the first questions many clients ask is whether they need a trust. The answer depends on your financial situation, the risks to your assets, your family dynamics, your specific goals, and other factors. Here are some situations where a trust could make sense for you and your family.
You want to protect assets against the high cost of nursing home care.
An irrevocable trust can help you become eligible for Medicaid to cover the cost of nursing home care without having to spend down your assets to meet Medicaid resource limits.
You want to control who can make decisions on your behalf in the event of incapacity.
A trust allows you to name a trustee who can manage your assets immediately if you become disabled. This will allow your family to avoid the delays, stress, and expense of a guardianship proceeding.
You want your estate to avoid probate.
A trust allows you to avoid probate entirely, thereby keeping your financial affairs private. (Probate is a public process in which anyone can get information about your assets, debts, and other sensitive matters.) In addition, administering a trust is typically much faster and less expensive than settling an estate through probate.
You want to make provisions for minor children and protect their inheritances in case you pass away before they reach the age of 18.
A trust lets you choose a trustee to manage your minor children’s inheritances according to rules you set forth in the trust.
You want to give money or property to a person with disabilities.
You can use a trust to hold money for the benefit of a disabled loved one without jeopardizing his or her eligibility for essential programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
You are worried about an heir’s ability to manage an inheritance.
Trusts allow you to control when and how an heir will be able to access an inheritance. You can even set requirements, such as graduating from college, that must be met before your heir can receive part or all of an inheritance.
You want to minimize or eliminate estate, gift, and other taxes.
Certain trusts can protect estate assets against a wide range of taxes.
These are just some of the goals trusts can help you accomplish. To learn more about whether a trust is right for you, contact us to schedule a personal meeting with one of our Michigan Trust Attorneys.