By Tony J. Tyre, Attorney at Law
Many clients come in to my office and ask, “My best friend just had a trust drafted and said I should have one drafted, too. Why do I need a trust?”
In my opinion, a trust is an invaluable estate planning document for several reasons:
-Avoiding Probate Court
A trust allows you to pass your assets to beneficiaries of your choosing without having those assets go through probate court. The negative aspects of probate court is that the process is expensive (both costly attorneys’ fees and court filing fees) and lengthy (can take over a year).
For most people, if you simply draft a will, your beneficiaries will still need to take the will through the costly and lengthy probate court process.
Similarly, most people who pass away intestate (without a will or a trust), will have their assets pass to legal heirs (blood relatives) through probate court. People who pass away intestate do not have any say how assets are distributed.
-Having a Choice
A trust gives the person creating the trust the freedom of choice. You, as the trust creator, get to choose who gets what assets and when. For instance, would you want your 19-year-old son to receive all of your assets at age 19? Or, would you rather hold the assets in trust until your son reaches the age of 30 when he is arguably more responsible? You could specify that trust assets could be used for the health, support, maintenance, and education of your son until he reaches age 30 to allow your son access to funds for reasonable and necessary expenses.
While you are alive, you are in charge of your trust. The trust can be amended, revoked, or changed. The trust still allows you to change assets or accounts and buy or sell real estate.
-Protection Against Liability
A trust can also protect you from liability. For instance, if you own a house in joint tenancy with your daughter and she accidentally hits someone with her car, the property you own jointly could be potentially be taken in a lawsuit. Putting that property in a trust may protect you from such liability.
Tony does not charge for initial consultations. For more information, please contact Tony at 5703 Temple City Boulevard, Temple City; (626) 285-7033, or firstname.lastname@example.org.