Do I need a trust?

Estate planning is confusing to many Illinois residents, to the point where they don’t want to do it at all, or they write a simple will and call it good. While having a will is better than nothing, many individuals, and their families, would be better served if they were to create a trust.

How do you know if you need a trust? At the end of the day, it is a personal decision. However, if any of the following apply to you, it may be worth at least looking into.

You have minors living at home

A lot of parents list their children as their beneficiaries on various accounts or in their wills. It is understandable, as they want to make sure their kids have what they need in the event of their death. The problem, however, is that children under the age of 18 can’t collect their inheritance. Instead, it will go to an assigned guardian to manage until the children reach adulthood. Having a trust can ensure that funds are used and distributed in the way you want, when you want and by whom you want.

You’re single

If all of your assets are in your name alone, assigning them to a trust will keep them protected should you become incapacitated and placed in another person’s care. It can also help your beneficiaries avoid probate after your death.

You want a mental disability plan in place

You never know what the future will bring. If at any point you become mentally disabled, unless you take the proper precautions, you may not have a say in your care or the managing of your assets. A court may get to do that for you. By placing assets in a trust and including certain provisions, you can have a voice even if you are no longer in a position to speak for yourself.

You desire privacy

A will is a matter of public record. Not everyone appreciates or wants that. A trust, on the other hand, is not a matter of public record. Therefore, the document should remain private and only available to the trustee and beneficiaries upon your incapacitation or death.

You’re married

It doesn’t matter if you are only married once in your lifetime or you are married two or more times; having a trust in place can protect you, your spouse and the people you want as your beneficiaries. It can also offer tax benefits and help your estate avoid passing through probate.

As you can see, there are plenty of reasons to consider having a trust, and there are plenty more beyond what is included in this list. If you desire more information about trusts, legal counsel can answer any questions you have and offer further help setting one up if appropriate.


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The Law Office of William C. Wombacher

Local: 309-674-8125
Fax: 309-674-8149

Commerce Bank Building
416 Main Street Suite 700
Peoria, IL 61602
NELF | National Elder Law Foundation
CAP | Council of Advanced Practitioners | NAELA | National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.
Illinois State Bar Association