Many people have heard about trusts as part of estate planning, but they are not always well understood. While trusts can be a complicated topic, they are a wise tool in structuring estate plans for many Oregon residents. This is especially true for those with larger estates or those who have concerns about the privacy and/or control present in their estate plan. Here are some of the reasons people might consider a trust as part of their estate plan:
- Minimizing legal steps and fees after death: Probate court can be a frustrating part of the estate execution process, often taking a great deal of time and expense. Trusts can help beneficiaries to avoid probate court for certain assets, like retirement accounts.
- Managing taxes: Trusts are particularly in-demand for those with assets above the estate tax exemption limit. This is because moving assets into a trust will effectively move them out of the estate, which can help to manage the tax load depending on one’s circumstances.
- Protecting assets from misuse: Trusts allow estate planners to be more particular about their requirements for assets. For example, they can limit how the assets are allowed to be used or minimize access to the assets in the case of debt or divorce. This makes trusts a valuable planning tool for those with specific ideas about what they want their legacy to be.
- Facilitating privacy: Besides cost and time, the public nature of probate is another downside for many. Files from probate are public records, so those who are more comfortable having the details of their wealth kept more privately are often advised to consider a trust.
Setting up a trust does take some work and expense on the front end. It is important to work with experienced estate planning professionals when setting up a trust to ensure the legalities are properly considered and everything is in order. The first step to setting up a trust, as with most estate planning steps, is typically to find a trusted Oregon attorney.