Oh, but I Don’t Have Enough Money to Create a Trust
This is a tale of two estates.
The Estate of Lisa: Lisa was a well-respected estate planning attorney who knew the benefit of a trust-based estate plan, which includes a Revocable Living Trust “Trust.” Lisa left behind a very simple and very old Last Will and Testament because she thought revising her estate plan to adequately address her multiple properties in various states would upset her second husband. Her out-of-state and grieving family now must wrestle with the cost, hassle, time and uncertainty of multiple probates in various states, and her second husband is understandably upset.
The Estate of Susan: In stark contrast, Susan had a very small estate; but she knew the importance of planning and easing the burden on her grieving family. Susan hired an attorney who created and funded her Trust. Susan’s devastated family was grateful to Susan and impressed by the ease with which her assets passed to her intended beneficiaries. Susan spent less on her Trust-based estate plan than her family would have on probate.
There is a misunderstanding that people who “do not have enough money” do not need a Trust. This cannot be farther from the truth. Money is not the sole factor when determining the appropriateness of a Trust. Often clients express that they absolutely do not need a Trust because their estate is worth less than the amount they have determined would necessitate a Trust and, therefore, a Last Will and Testament will suffice. Not having the wealth of Jeffrey Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, does not mean that you and your family would not benefit from a Trust as part of your estate plan.
Here are a few reasons why even a small estate could benefit from a Trust:
- Avoidance of Probate
- Continuity of Management During Disability
- Step-Up in Tax Basis
- Estate Tax Minimization
- Availability of Assets at Death
The Estate Planning attorneys at Mesch Clark Rothschild can help you create an estate plan for you and your family to avoid a costly probate proceeding.