What are the Benefits of having a Trust in my Estate Plan?

A trust is a written legal document where you, the settlor, give your assets to a trustee to hold for the benefit of specified beneficiaries. There are many benefits to including a trust in your Estate Planning. First, if you have a trust, your estate will be kept private. Trust assets will pass outside of probate and therefore aren't put on show for everyone to see at your death. Second, you can leave your assets to heirs at a predetermined time – rather than have them immediately payable upon death. This is essentially crucial when you have young or irresponsible children. Your children may not be ready to handle the assets you intend on leaving them when you pass away. In a trust, you may stipulate that certain beneficiaries must wait until they reach a specific age to take possession of their interest in the trust. Third, a trust can be used to reduce estate and gift taxes in states where there is a death tax. Currently, Florida does not have a death tax – but many other states do.