Do I need a trust?
Many people wonder if they need a trust. Trusts are designed to accomplish specific goals, so not everyone needs one. But you might.
A trust allows people to transfer property to others (family, friends, charities) without going through probate. Avoiding probate can reduce costs and enable loved ones to receive the assets sooner. If you have minor children, you may want a trust, so that your children can get your assets sooner.
A trust also allows parents to choose in advance who will manage their minor children's assets. Without a trust, the probate court, not you, appoints a guardian of the estate for the children.
Moreover, a trust allows elderly or disabled people to plan for their future incapacity. A trust allows people to choose who will take care of their assets if they can no longer do it for themselves. If you become incapacitated without a trust, the court will appoint a conservator to make these decisions for you. The court will choose the conservator for you as well.
And trusts can be a way to reduce the amount of estate taxes you will pay, if you have a house or other substantial assets.
Finally, with a trust you can keep your estate private from strangers. When your estate goes through probate, anyone can see your will or find out what your assets are. In contrast, a trust is not publicly available, so the privacy of your estate will be protected.