Pennsylvania residents who are looking into their estate planning options may not feel as if they need to include a trust. However, you may find that a trust could offer you more benefits than you initially imagined. In fact, trusts are often useful in meeting the specific needs and wishes of an individual that other planning options may keep too broad in scope.
Depending on your goals and desires for your estate plan, a trust may still not suit your circumstances. Still, gaining more information on this option and how it could fit into your plan may help you make an informed decision about whether to use a trust before writing it off entirely.
What can a trust do for you?
First, it is important to know that, even if you do not have a substantial amount of wealth, a trust could still hold some usefulness to you and your loved ones. Some ways that this planning tool may be of use to you include the following:
- Keeping certain assets out of probate or avoiding the probate process altogether
- Retaining your personal privacy and that of your family
- Ensuring that loved ones with special needs who obtain government benefits will not suffer adverse effects from a sudden financial windfall
- Protecting assets from creditors and other claimants
- Placing specific instructions on how and when beneficiaries can obtain and use the assets in the trust
- Managing assets for minors who cannot yet inherit their intended property
Of course, you may find that a trust could help you in ways not listed here. The beauty of this planning tool is that you can craft it to your specifications as long as those terms do not violate the law in some way.
Should everything go into a trust?
Some individuals choose to place the majority of their assets into trusts because they want to avoid their estate going through probate. However, it is important to remember that, if you have accounted for an asset elsewhere in your plan, such as naming a beneficiary in your will or to a payable-on-death account, you do not want to also tie those assets to your trust because it could create confusion and complications.
Fortunately, if you do choose to use this tool as part of your estate plan, you can gain reliable information from local legal resources to help you create one or more trusts that best suit your needs.