Trusts are essential documents for some estate plans. If you have a trust and have not had it reviewed recently, you should make an appointment to do so. Even if your personal situation has not changed, the law has changed considerably if your trust is more than 10 years old.
Although trusts are almost always the estate planning vehicle of choice for large estates, they are also critical for the smooth administration of many smaller estates. A few examples of when you will definitely want to discuss setting up a trust:
- when a disabled person will be the beneficiary;
- when there is a second spouse and children from a previous marriage;
- when the beneficiaries are antagonistic towards one another;
- when there are a large number of beneficiaries;
- when a future beneficiary is receiving Medicaid or anticipates doing so;
- When the beneficiary is a minor, and there are special instructions for disbursement of the trust fund;
- When the assets of a person’s estate exceeds the federal estate tax limit;
- If you have a pet, and are worried about who would take care of your pet if you died or became disabled, a Pet Trust is an estate planning vehicle you definitely want to explore.
It is possible to title property to pass to your loved ones without setting up a trust, but there are potential pitfalls in doing so. Whether you decide for or against a trust, a full discussion of how your assets are titled is imperative.