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Reasons to use a trust in an estate plan

A Georgia resident with a lot of assets might want to consider using a trust instead of a will as the main vehicle in their estate plan. While a will comes into effect upon a person's death, a trust takes effect as soon as it is signed. An estate owner may have more or less control over the trust depending on whether it is revocable or irrevocable.

Trusts may save time since the assets would not have to pass through probate. The probate process can take three to six months or longer. A trust may also be less expensive in the long run depending on the specifics of the estate owner's situation. For example, some trusts may provide tax savings. Furthermore, a trust is private, unlike a will, which is a publicly available document.

A trust allows more control over how and when distributions are made. This means that if a beneficiary cannot manage their inheritance because of age, irresponsibility or for some other reason, assets can be placed in a trust for protection. They might remain there until the beneficiary reaches a certain age, or distributions might be made at certain intervals. A trust can also ensure that an inheritance does not jeopardize any government benefits received by someone with special needs. Trusts can offer protection from creditors as well.

Someone who is considering a trust in their estate plan may want to talk to an attorney about specific considerations. For example, an irrevocable trust may offer less control but more protection. An estate owner may also want to think about who should be appointed as the trustee. Some trusts are complex enough that they need to be managed by someone who has a background in finance and law, such as a bank or a financial professional.

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