Trust Questions & Answers
Who Needs a Trust?
People that want to gain, keep, protect, and privatize their assets. People that are starting to gain assets. People that are having troubles. People that are trying to keep their personal life separate from a business venture. People that are involved with real estate, or partners, or stock, or children, or taking care of someone. People with pets. In short, almost anyone can benefit from participation with a trust.
Who Can Benefit From a Trust?
The minors, seniors, people with medical conditions, good children, immature individuals, people that have social dysfunctions, people that cannot manage for themselves, people that want a secure retirement, people that are bankrupt, people worried about a lawsuit, people that want to avoid damage or mistakes of their relatives, children that might make mistakes, people that had children from other relationships, children that will need guaranteed funds for college, people that have never managed valuable assets. The list is extensive, and covers the reasons most of us work, and plan, and save. It can allow us to protect some of our future and get peace of mind.
What About a Will?
A WILL is actually named incorrectly. A will can be completely ignored by a judge, or severely damaged by anyone making a claim. The very fact that the court and the attorneys get involved requires significant cost, and perhaps years of review, negotiations, and resolution. During this public process, the original wishes of the creator are public modified. Often, the original beneficiaries are left with very little after settlement.
What is so Special About a Trust?
A trust created during the life of the creator is called a Living Trust. Since the trust is usually done for the family, they usually include the word "family". The primary difference between a Will and a Trust is that the trust can by pass the management, costs, and pitfalls of the court. This usually means that the plan of the creator can be trusted to be carried out as originally intended. Quietly, quickly, privately, supervised by the manager (Trustee) you selected, in a low cost fashion.
What Kind of Trust?
The above improvements of a basic trust over a will are very beneficial in their simplicity. You can stay in control. You can continue to enjoy the assets. You can continue to do what you previously did, just with more safety and planning.
Will a Simple Trust Keep Me Safe?
The fact that basic trust benefits are great, does not consider the fact that they only become beneficial upon your death. They do absolutely nothing during your lifetime. There is no effect while you are alive.
How Do I Get Started With a Trust?
Make a quick list of current estimated assets, to include, real estate, vehicles, tools, equipment, collections, awards, hobbies, electronics, jewelry, furniture, records, art, stocks, bonds, insurance, retirement plans, coins, stamps, business, partnerships, inheritances. This list does not need to be exact values or details. It's just a starting point. Next, make a list of who should receive these things (the beneficiaries) after you are gone. And last, select the person that should manage (the trustee) the assets for the beneficiaries. The trustee can be the same person that is the beneficiary. There can be more than one trustee and/or beneficiary. There are many other options that can be considered, but changes can be made at any time. The important thing is to get started with a basic plan, rather than no plan at all. You can make changes as often as desired, when you've had time to reflect on your existing plan.
What Additional Protections Are Available?
There can be protection from overwhelming medical costs. Protection from potential lawsuits. Protection from divorce settlements. Protection from mistakes or attacks of your relatives. From errors of your spouse, from costs of long term convalescent care. Protection from a business venture, troublesome investment, or bad partnership. Protection from loss of your home or retirement. Protection from anyone placing you in a nursing home, so that they can liquidate your house or other assets. Protection to continue a business safely during changes of ownership or management. Provisions for education, health care, daily living expenses, and certain level of lifestyle. Provisions for the guardianship and welfare of your pets. Provisions for your church or charity.
How Do I Get Protection While I'm Alive?
A basic trust will not provide lifetime protection. A comprehensive plan can be installed by following some simple rules and using the correct trust language. This requires assistance, but is not very complicated. We provide free forms that can provide complete protection. Keep in mind, that complete protection really means that we remove risk from "almost" everything. There is no such thing as 100% protection, although it often works out that way. A proper plan will protect the most important things, and/or 90% of the list (or value) of assets.
Why Doesn't Everyone Have a Trust?
Actually, now that you are learning about trusts, you will notice that trusts are everywhere. The news, soap operas, movies, sports stars, politicians, crime, the investors, public facilities, commercials, plots in books, celebrities, protecting battered wives, providing for children, charities, history, art, music, literally everywhere. All recent Presidents are heavily involved with trusts. This includes the poor, the rich, and the rest of us.
What About Protection of a Corporation or LLC?
A corporation or LLC can often protect a single business (asset) from personal asset attacks, but the stock is unprotected. And if you have more than one, the costs of multiple corporations are high. There are annual disclosures, more rules, more laws, and maintenance of records. There is nothing wrong with having a single corporation for a business, but trying to get asset safety, protection, or privacy is not easily accomplished.
How Much Privacy Can I Get?
Basically, you can achieve almost any level of privacy you wish. You can have private ownership, private residence, private vehicles, private banking, private assets, private investments, private expenses, or private beneficiaries. You can even get privacy of a beneficiary from another beneficiary. They don't even have to realize there are other beneficiaries!
How Much Does a Trust Cost?
Please feel free to use any of our forms for free. We try to provide many styles, formats, examples, and opportunities to satisfy your needs. Keep in mind, that you need to get competent professional legal advice and that you need to exercise your own judgment about all materials that are provided. We do NOT offer legal opinions or legal advice. If you have a professional assist you, the fees for a simple (basic) Will or Trust usually cost between $300 and $1,200. A corporation or LLC can cost similar amounts. A comprehensive protective plan will usually cost between $1,200 and $8,000. Of course, fees are set by the provider and vary according to complexity, number of assets, number of people involved, and levels of planning and protection. Most providers will give you an initial consultation at no cost.