Trusts have many uses. Perhaps the most important is that they can provide privacy at death. Garry Shandling is thought to have used a trust to provide privacy for those he left behind.
Trusts are a very valuable tool when planning your estate in order to provide structure for who will be in charge and how to distribute your assets. Sinclair Prosser Gasior can draft a trust according to your wishes and plan for future generations to inherit assets for which you have worked hard for during your lifetime. There are many good reasons to use trusts, which include the following:
- Trusts avoid probate, which is a public process to change title of assets from the deceased person to the new recipient.
- Trusts may be helpful in tax planning.
- Specialized irrevocable trusts may be helpful in qualifying for Medicaid.
- Trusts are helpful to manage your assets during your incapacity, thus avoiding guardianship.
Also, trusts may continue after death for the beneficiaries and can provide a multitude of benefits, including:
- Asset protection. Assets left in trust for beneficiaries could provide them asset protection as long as distributions are in the trustee’s complete discretion and the trustee is independent.
- Asset management. A trust can be useful to leave assets for the benefit of a beneficiary who is unable or unwilling to manage assets for themselves, such as a minor or irresponsible person.
- Divorce protection. By leaving the assets in a trust, the assets will not be commingled with the beneficiary’s spouse’s assets, which helps protect them in the event of divorce.
- Special needs. The assets for a beneficiary who is disabled and expected to need public benefits can be left in a special trust, so that there is not an outright distribution to them to jeopardize their benefits.
In addition to the aforementioned reasons, a trust avoids probate and the public process which it entails. If one has a Will or dies without an estate plan, both would send the assets through probate so that anyone can view or obtain information about your family or assets. The privacy which a trust affords is one of the key reasons trusts are used by many people who guard their privacy zealously, such as celebrities. For example, when comedian Garry Shandling died in 2016, he left a probate estate with a net value of less than $669,000. It is suspected that Shandling left a trust which held other assets, but we’ll never know how much Shandling left through trusts, because of the privacy they provide.
If you want to avoid the public, your neighbors or distant relatives from reading about who is receiving your assets, a trust may be just the ticket to protect your affairs from their prying eyes. Sinclair Prosser Gasior can help protect your privacy and draft a comprehensive estate plan to meet your goals in leaving a legacy for your family.