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The Purpose of Establishing a Trust Despite the Existence of a Will

Posted on in Estate Planning

A trust agreement is a document that spells out the rules that you want followed for property held in trust for your beneficiaries. Common objectives for trusts are to reduce the estate tax liability, to protect property in your estate, and to avoid probate.

Think of a trust as a special place in which ordinary property from your estate goes in and, as the result of some type of transformation that occurs, takes on a sort of new identity and often is bestowed with super powers: immunity from estate taxes, resistance to probate, and so on.

You don't have to be a Rockefeller to need a trust. A trust can be a useful estate-planning tool for lots of people. But given the expenses associated with opening one, it's probably not worth it unless you have a certain amount of assets.

Here's a good rule of thumb:

If you have a net worth of at least $100,000 and have a substantial amount of assets in real estate, or have very specific instructions on how and when you want your estate to be distributed among your heirs after you die, then a trust could be for you. Trusts are also great for minimizing estate taxes or protecting your estate from lawsuits and creditors. Our DuPage County attorneys are here to help you determine the best course of action for your estate plan.

Trusts are flexible, varied and complex. Each type has advantages and disadvantages, which you should discuss thoroughly with your estate-planning attorney before setting one up.

Take note: Assets you want protected by the trust must be retitled in the name of the trust. Anything that is not titled to the trust when you die will have to go through probate.

If you're considering setting up a trust, contact a top DuPage County estate planning lawyer. Our attorneys are here to help you determine your estate planning needs and to ensure everything is done correctly.

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