Myth #1 “I don’t need a trust, I really don’t have much.”
Myth #2 “We do not have any kids, so a trust won’t be necessary.”
Myth #3 “If it costs extra to draft a trust, we will just skip doing one for now.”
There are many statements an attorney will hear during their career that instantly makes the hair on the back of their neck stand-up. For the trust and estate planning expert, the above quoted statements can send a chill down your spine. In an age where information is readily available with the click of a mouse, the general public is surprisingly misinformed about how to properly plan for death, and how a trust can be a vital piece in even the most modest estate. All too often during Michigan and Florida estate planning consultations is it apparent that clients are unaware of the benefits of adding a trust to their estate documents.
Gone are the days when a trust is only for the estate plan of the rich and famous. Trusts serve multiple purposes, depending on a given persons needs and desires, regardless of the wealth they think they possess or the size of their family. Aside from probate avoidance, which is often the goal of most estate plans, a properly drafted trust can have major tax benefits, ease the transition of property and assets to a surviving spouse, eliminate or prevent disputes among family members and beneficiaries, fund charitable causes without lengthy judicial oversight, provide support and guidelines to maintain your life in the event of incapacitation, and provide for uniform control over property and assets held in multiple states. The list is never ending. While most people mistakenly believe that you need either a large family or great wealth to need a trust, the truth is that even those individuals with little or no family or assets, may still need to consider utilizing a trust as part of their estate plan. And the relative cost of adding one to your estate plan may pleasantly surprise you and will absolutely hail in comparison to the ultimate benefit it provides.
A trust not only provides planning for the inevitability of death, but acts as a safety net in the event of unforeseen tragedies that can prevent someone from being able to care for themselves (think Alzheimer or dementia). If these types of unforeseeable tragedies affect more than just the wealthy, why would a trust be something only the wealthy should utilize?
Trusts are as individualized as the person and estate they protect. From irrevocable to revocable, trusts come in many sizes, shapes, and flavors. Understanding whether your individual wishes can be assisted by a Q-TIP trust, welfare trust, charitable trust, special needs trust, asset protection trust, spendthrift trust, Totten trust, tax by-pass trust, or a trust containing bits and pieces of the protections provided by each of these different types of trusts, is something that should be discussed with your estate planning attorney before you dismiss such a tool as “unnecessary for my small estate”. Estate planning should be viewed no differently than your everyday life. Your life is no less important than someone making a million dollars a year, so why should your estate be treated as any less important than the celebrity estate plan?
To better understand how a trust can work to protect your property, wishes, and desires for family, contact the experienced attorneys at Kelly & Kelly Law P.C. to arrange a consultation. From Florida to Michigan, the attorneys at Kelly & Kelly P.C. are here to assist with your Probate, Will, Trust, and Estate planning needs.