Do I Need a Trust?

Published in Estate Planning on April 17, 2018

Clients who are looking to do estate planning commonly ask questions like – “Do I have enough assets to need a trust?” and “Are we too young to need a trust?”  This brief article is intended to address these common questions.  

The answer to these questions, as you might expect, will differ from state to state. In Missouri, you generally don’t need a trust if your assets are under $40,000. If you have less than $40,000 then we can utilize a quick and inexpensive procedure for “small estates” where your assets can vest in your heirs without a full probate process.  I would generally suggest that some of the biggest factors for determining whether setting up a revocable living trust is right for you would be how many beneficiaries (heirs) you intend to name, what types of assets you own, and whether your beneficiaries are able to get along well and/or manage their assets well.  Factors weighing in favor of forming a trust would be (a) having more beneficiaries vs. one or just a few, (b) owning real estate, (c) if your beneficiaries don’t get along well, and (d) if any of your beneficiaries don’t manage their assets well.

The issue of whether you are too young to need a trust is an easier one.  The answers for any adult are the same based upon the above considerations.  The cost of setting up a trust is not getting any cheaper so if you have sufficient assets and otherwise have certain needs that can be met by a trust, there is no reason to delay in getting it set up.

Keep in mind that it is not enough to just set up a trust. You must fund your revocable living trust by updating the manner in which you title and hold assets (including the way you name beneficiaries for your assets). 

Contact us if you are interested in discussing whether a trust is right for you.