Some people have the misconception that a Massachusestts trust is only for the uber-wealthy. The truth is that a living trust can work really well for almost everyone who wants to protect their assets and control the distribution of their estate.
What exactly is a living trust? It’s a legal document that takes title to assets to be held for the benefit of one or more people (beneficiaries). A trust can be used to distribute property before death, at death, or afterwards. In order for property to be included in a trust, it must be put in the name of the trust. A Massachusetts living trust is revocable, so you can change or end it at any time.
Here are 7 reasons why a trust may be right for you.
Unlike a will, a trust doesn’t need to go through the probate process (a court-supervised process). Since probate can take many months and cost the estate money, this means you’ll save money and time.
While the contents of a will become public because of the probate process, the contents of your trust and its distribution remain private.
A living trust can be enacted when the grantor is incapacitated (i.e., lacking sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decision). If you become incapacitated, the trustee will take control of your trust’s assets during that time and manage them according to your wishes as defined in your trust document. So, your assets will be managed for you when you can’t manage them yourself.
Greater control of assets
When a will distributes property to the beneficiary, that property is then owned by the beneficiary. A Massachusetts trust works differently, giving you more control. Once you pass away, the trustee manages the trust’s assets and you (as the person who created the trust) can set the terms of the trust. For example, if you’re leaving money to your son perhaps you want to give him one-third of the money when he turns 25, one-third when he’s 30, and the remaining third when he’s 35. Also, if you leave money to your daughter and she’s going through a divorce, she can choose to delay payment of the inheritance keeping the money in the trust so it’s protected from the divorce settlement.
A living trust with estate tax provisions can protect your assets from Massachusetts estate taxes, depending on the total value of your estate and your marital status.
Children with special needs
If a beneficiary is a minor, has special needs or receives public assistance, can be easily influenced by others, or is incapable of managing money, a trust can be incredibly helpful. In these cases, their inheritance could be held in trust for their lifetime and managed by a trustee of your choosing to meet the beneficiary’s needs and circumstances.
As a Massachusetts trust attorney, I want to help you protect your assets by guiding you to the right estate planning tools for your situation. Call us today at 617.299.6976 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a confidential, no-cost consultation.