One of the most common questions I answer during Estate Planning consultations is “Do I need a Living Trust?” Often, folks who hear the word “Trust” immediately think of Bill Gates or a wealthy philanthropist. The thinking goes that only the most wealthy need a Living Trust. The reality is, the amount of money you have saved up is only one factor in considering whether a Revocable Living Trust is a good tool for you. Other factors, among many, include:
– Your desire for privacy.
A Trust is a tool to avoid probate in Missouri. Probate is a court process in which Your assets are reported following your death. A Trust, if appropriately planned and with properly titled assets, avoids Probate.
– Do you have a child with special needs?
A Trust can provide protection and care guidance for a child that requires care should you pass away.
– Do you own real estate outside of Missouri?
If so, you might be subject to Probate in that State. A Trust can help avoid that extra probate process.
– Do you want to have control over how your assets are distributed after your death?
If so, a Trustee of your Trust can control how assets are distributed. For example, you want your grandchild to finish college before he or she is entitled to any Trust asset. You can do that. Maybe you want to wait until your son is 35 before allowing him to draw from Trust assets. You can do that. One of the main benefits of a Revocable Living Trust in Missouri is the ability to define, after your death, how your hard-earned assets are distributed.
So you say “Ok, maybe I do want a Trust, why wouldn’t I find a large law firm to draw that up for me?”
My answer would be this: why would you pay big firm rates for the exact same documents that I can prepare for you for less? And, you get the personal attention that a small law office can offer.
Say you wanted to buy a new car. Dealer A, the largest dealer in Missouri, has the car for $30,000. Lots more overhead, higher price. Dealer B, a smaller dealer in Missouri, has the same car for $25,000. Same car, same warranty, same product. Why would you pay more to get the same thing?
My approach to Estate Planning is to evaluate your needs, recommend solutions and work efficiently to get them in place. It’s as simple as that.