I want to dispel the misguided belief that a trust is only for “wealthy” people. The only way that is accurate is to consider all Americans wealthy, and by most standards we are a wealthy nation. The more accurate lens to view a Trust's viability through is by what I call your “Hurt-Points”. Ideas, concepts, or potential outcomes that you, personally, would want to avoid. A Trust is NOT for everyone, but it is also not limited to wealthy people either.
Here are a few factors that make Trust planning a possibility for you.
Families with minor children tend to be my most frequent clients. They have minor children, maybe a home, maybe some life insurance, and maybe a little savings. If these parents passed away while their children were still minors, those kids would receive everything at age 18. When the thought of all that value being placed in the hands of a minor, that tends to be a hurt-point for those parents. What would you do with your total value of assets at age 18 and no parents to guide you?
Owning Property in More Than One State
For those fortunate enough to own more than one piece of real estate, Trusts can become a huge time and money saver for you. If you passed away without a will (intestate) or even with a will, each piece of property would have to go through the probate process in each state where the property was located. So, if I have a home in Idaho and one in Oregon, and I die without a Trust, then a Probate proceeding is opened in Idaho and in Oregon. This doubles the cost by having to open two Court proceedings. Since the Trust never passes away, and the Trust owns both pieces of property, then there is no need to open Probate.
Families with a Disabled Member
This is not always a factor, but there are a large number of families in Idaho that have a member receiving some form of State or Federal assistance in the form of SSI, Medicaid, or other governmental benefit due to a disability. Without the use of a Trust, any inheritance received can actually detrimentally affect that member’s government assistance. In some cases, cause them to lose the assistance entirely.
Next week I will post a follow up blog to this topic, which will cover additional "hurt-points" that many people have to face in their estate planning.
If one of your hurt points is listed above, I invite you to call or email me at 208-477-1785 or Justin@jeppesenlaw.com to discuss what your options are and how we can go about getting a plan put in place for you.