A will is one of the most basic Massachusetts estate planning documents, and everyone should have one to make sure that there is no question about what would happen to your assets and kids if something happens to you. But there are some cases when having a trust in addition to a will is imperative; here are six of them:
Avoiding probate or conservatorship. A trust will bypass the probate process, saving the people you love time and money. To carry out instructions in a will, a probate must be opened in the county court (in Lawrence, MA if you live in Andover, MA) and that means your family is stuck dealing with the Court if you get hospitalized or after you die.
Providing for a person with special needs. If you have a child or another dependent with special needs, a trust commonly known as a Special Needs Trust can protect assets for a special needs person without jeopardizing their qualification for government benefits. A will allows you to transfer assets to a special needs person, but will not protect those assets.
Privacy. Since a will undergoes probate in court, it becomes public record. A trust is private.
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.
Out-of-state property. If you own property in another state besides Massachusetts, you can more easily transfer ownership via a trust than a will. Transferring out-of-state property in a will usually means additional legal expenses because you could have probate in multiple states and that is no fund for the people you love.
Asset protection. If you want to protect the assets you leave your loved ones from creditors (including 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.
If you would like to learn more about the use of trusts in Massachusetts to pass on what you care about to the people you love, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Family Plan Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call 978-296-4140 today and mention this article.
Wilson, lf is a family-focused boutique law firm specializing in estate planning located in Andover, Massachusetts and Washington, DC. We help parents like you organize your affairs, in style, to protect your investments and provide for your loved ones. We are so passionate about providing "a plan for every family" that we meet families throughout Massachusetts and DC in their homes or offices and have some evening and weekend appointments available every month for utmost convenience. www.wilsonlf.com