Trusts simply are faster and, many times, less expensive way to distribute assets to children and loved ones. About 90% of the time I use a living trust for clients, and in 10% of cases, we use wills.
I suggest using a living trust if the client has more than $100,000.00 (not including real estate) or a house in his or her own name.
There is no magic amount of assets that “qualifies” you to have a trust. If your children are all adults and financially competent and your assets consist of all life insurance, annuities and a house, you could use a will, power of attorneys for health care and property and an Illinois Land Trust (a trust set up with a bank to hold title to real estate only) to avoid probate on all of your assets.
The main question is: Will the living trust simplify the handling of my estate for me during my life and for my heirs after my death at a reasonable cost? It is not reasonable to pay $3,500.00 for a simple probate avoidance trust because you could probably open and close a probate estate for less than that in a simple estate. So cost is a factor in setting up a living trust. I prepare many living trusts for clients simply to avoid probate (not for estate tax savings). Many clients choose this route because the cost of the trust is reasonable. Each situation is unique and you should discuss yours with someone who will honestly evaluate it.
There is a never-ending will vs. trust debate, but my bias is in favor of living trusts in most cases. Read more about the pros and cons of living trusts.
To get started on your trust click below to fill out the estate planning information form.
Then schedule a phone appointment to talk it over and you are half done already!