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Know How Trusts Can Be Used to Your Advantage in Estate Planning

When you create a trust, you enter into a legal contract that allows you to do many things. Trusts give you professional management of your assets and trusts provide for confidentiality. They may allow you to reduce your personal assets by transferring ownership to the trust, thus helping you avoid estate taxes. They may also allow you to avoid probate.

Other benefits of trusts include that they may allow you to more clearly specify your desires regarding your assets, since trusts are much more difficult to challenge than wills. They may allow you to specify which assets that should to go to which children (particularly children from a previous marriage). Finally, trusts can be used to provide for children with special needs or to hold money until a child reaches maturity.

If any of the following conditions apply to you, you should seek professional advice regarding the ways a trust could benefit you:

  1. Your total estate is larger than the estate tax exemption amount, which was $2 million in 2006.
  2. You want to avoid probate.
  3. You have specific desires or goals for the management and disbursement of your assets.
  4. You want to leave an inheritance to children from a prior marriage.
  5. You have a child with a handicap or a relative who requires specialized care because of a disability.


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