A trust can help you to protect your assets and provide for your loved ones. But it can be hard to know when you need a trust. Trusts are not always necessary, and there may be other, simpler solutions to help you meet your goals.
Whether a trust is appropriate for you will depend on your specific needs. However, there are some questions to ask yourself when considering a trust.
- Do I need to shield assets from probate? Probate can be a lengthy and complicated process. It can be beneficial to your heirs to keep assets out of probate. Often, you can avoid probate of major assets without the use of a trust. However, a trust may be beneficial if you own complex, high-value assets.
- Am I planning for Medicaid/MassHealth? By placing your assets in a trust, you can protect your assets for your heirs and create a plan to obtain Medicaid/MassHealth coverage. Remember, however, that Medicaid has a five-year look back period. This means that if your trust is less than five years old, Medicaid can use assets from the trust to fund long-term care for you or your spouse.
- Do I want to keep my assets and estate plan private? Probate is a public process. With a trust, you can keep your estate plan private.
- Do I have a child or dependant with special needs? Through a trust, you can set up guidelines for providing for children or other dependants with special needs.
- Do I have specific instructions for distributing my assets? With a trust, you can create special rules for the distribution of your assets and property. For example, you can create a trust that allows children to inherit assets after they reach a certain age.
The decision to create a trust should be made with your attorney. A lawyer can help you understand your options and ensure that you are making strategic decisions regarding your estate. At the Center for Elder Law and Estate Planning, we can help you determine if a trust is right for you and assist you in creating a comprehensive estate plan.