“MYTH: I have a Will, so my estate won’t go through probate.”
• #1: Avoiding probate.
After your passing, a Will lands your loved ones in the middle of the probate court while a Trust is administered privately outside the court system. Probate is LONG (average of 12-18 months) and EXPENSIVE (average cost of 5% of the market value of the estate).
• #2: Providing for someone with special needs.
If you have a child or another dependent with special needs, a Trust can protect assets for them without jeopardizing their qualification for governmental benefits. A Will allows you to transfer assets to a special needs person, but it will not protect those assets in the same way Trust can and an inheritance via a Will can unintentionally disqualify them from their benefits.
• #3: Maintaining privacy.
When a Will undergoes probate, it becomes PUBLIC record. A trust is a PRIVATE document that is not filed or recorded anywhere. Have you ever wondered how it is that we know who inherited from Anna Nicole Smith, Michael Jackson, Heath Ledger, and Nelson Mandela? It’s because they didn’t use a Trust to keep their personal information private.
• #4: Protecting blended families.
If you are part of a blended family, a Trust can give you the flexibility you will want to make sure that children from prior marriages are provided for in the way you want. It isn’t enough to leave everything to your surviving spouse through a Will, because they can turn around and leave everything to their own children—effectively disinheriting your side of the family.
• #5: Dealing with out-of-state property.
If you own property in another state besides your state of residence, you can more easily transfer ownership via a Trust than a Will. As real estate is governed by the state where it is located, transferring out-of-state property in a Will means additional legal expenses because your loved ones would have to open probate in multiple states.
• #6: Creating asset protection.
If you want to protect the assets you leave for your loved ones from creditors (including your beneficiaries’ bankruptcy and divorce), a Trust is the way to do it. It’s a gift you can give your loved ones that they could not easily, or at all, give themselves.
• “The most famous estate planning document may not be what you think!”•