No one knows your family and understands your assets better than you. A family trust makes sure that both the family and assets are taken care of while you are alive—contrary to a will. By setting up a family trust, you decide how your family members will benefit from your finances. Unlike the misconception, you don’t have to have a lot of money to build a family trust. If you have something to provide for your family and if you know the needs of your family members and want to meet them, a family trust is your go-to.
How does a family trust work?
Before we move ahead, you should know how a family trust works. A family trust involves three main parties; a grantor, trustee(s), and beneficiary(es). A grantor transfers their assets to the family trust, a trustee manages those assets, and beneficiaries, as the title indicates, get the benefits of the assets placed under the trust.
However, it could involve other parties, such as an appointer, and building a family trust could be messy if you are not well-acquainted with the whole process. To properly understand the family trust’s legality and navigate the complicated process smoothly, you should check in with credible consultants and advisors to help you set up your trusts and wills whenever you are ready.
- Keep it private and safe
The distribution of assets is not a very easy task. It demands a lot of time, money, and involvement of other parties. Any intervention of an extended party can make the process more complicated to negotiate. A family trust can help you avoid all that. It can keep the assets transfer easy and private. It gives you the power to distribute your assets as you deem appropriate. In this way, you won’t have to entertain any unnecessary involvement, which could become a problem for your family if you don’t handle your assets while you are around. The privacy will also keep your assets safe for your own family as there would be no claims later on.
- No probate process
One of the reasons why people are now choosing to build a family trust rather than going for a will is to eliminate the probate process. Probation is a public and lengthy process. It takes a lot of time and legal fees to complete it. A will is subjected to probation while a trust is not. Your family members can get their rightful property after your demise without going through the mess of probation.
- No or Fewer taxes
An inheritance tax is a tax you pay when you get a property or asset inherited after the owner’s demise. It is around 55 percent in the U.S., a very hefty amount. However, money or property placed in a family trust is not subject to such taxes. Therefore, your trustee can start transferring your property or money in a non-taxable way, such as gifting a certain amount of money to children and grandchildren not liable to estate or inheritance taxes. In this way, your family members benefit from what you have left for them more virtually.
- Protection to beneficiaries
A trust can help you protect your family members even when you won’t be around to do so yourself. For example, you can keep money saved for their health or special medical care. If you think that a member of your family may not be able to take care of their finances, you can set a whole plan of money devolution for them with a complete timeline so that no one else can claim it or deceive them. You can also protect your family’s rightful property from extended relationship claims by building a foolproof family trust.
- Manage the finances and monetary benefits
You can use the family trust to manage your finances by being the trustee yourself. You can add the funds or remove them whenever you like. A trust helps you organize your finances and gives you an overall map of what you have and how to distribute it. In addition, you can let your family have the financial benefits as soon as you build the trust. You don’t have to die for your family members to get the benefits from your assets and property. Simply put, you can use the trust fund to easily manage your finances and provide your family the monetary benefits.
- Equitable distribution plan
There is possibly no one who understands your family’s needs and demands more than you. Above that, you know which member needs what kind of help. A family trust allows making such a plan or setting terms that can cater to each member’s needs individually. For example, you can keep the money for the higher education of your children or grandchildren. It means that they can access it only when they enroll in higher education. A family trust, therefore, helps you to distribute your property equitably.
- Change the terms whenever you think necessary
A family trust is of two types; revocable and irrevocable. If you go for revocable trust, you can change the terms and assets distribution whenever and however you like. As the needs of families change over time, and if you are around when that happens for your family, you can easily change the conditions of your trust to match the varying needs. You can also revoke the family trust and build a completely new one.
Taking care of your family is a never-ending process. A family trust can help you protect your family even when you won’t be there for them to do so. It gives you space to organize your assets and distribute them according to your understanding of your family’s needs. It is less complicated than setting up a will and is usually more affordable. It helps avoid the lengthy and tiring legal process of probation and lets you pay no or fewer taxes. In short, a family trust can help you lessen your worries about your family’s protection.