Are there reasons other than probate avoidance to establish a living trust?
Answer: YES. There are many!
If you have minor heirs when you pass away, you can cause the money to be kept in trust and spent only for the heirs' health, education, welfare and benefit as the Trustee sees fit until they reach adulthood. Also, when they become adults, you can specify that the trust fund be paid to them in installments (over time) so that they don't spend it as a windfall all at once.
A trust helps protect your assets from your heirs' creditors claims, and it can specify that no beneficiary has the right to assign any of the assets of the trust to a creditor before actual receipt of the asset.
In a blended family, you can specify that the income from trust assets is to be used for your second spouse so long as he/she lives with the principal going to your heirs after death.
Although your will is where you will name a guardian(s) for your minor children, the trustee of your trust (either a trusted family member or an professional such as a bank or trust company) will make the decisions about what your children need and when they need it for as long as the trust lasts.
If you have a child with disabilities, you can set up a special needs trust upon your death for the benefit of that child without jeopardizing your child's eligibility for government benefits.
And the list goes beyond what I’ve outlined here. A trust allows you to control your assets even for many years after your demise and it still has the benefit of avoiding probate.
Grayson P. Van Horn is an attorney at law serving Oklahoma residents and property owners.
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