Does a Trust make sense?

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The notion of a legal trust may conjure up images of country club folks cradling gin-and-tonics.  These tools aren’t just for the Rockefellers! The truth is a trust may be a useful estate-planning tool for your family if you have a net worth of at least $100,000 and meet one of the following conditions:

  • A sizable amount of your assets is in real estate, a business or an art collection;
  • You want to leave your estate to your heirs in a way that is not directly and immediately payable to them upon your death. For example, you may want to stipulate that they receive their inheritance in three parts, or upon certain conditions being met, such as graduating from college;
  • You want to support your surviving spouse, but also want to ensure that the principal or remainder of your estate goes to your chosen heirs (e.g., your children from a first marriage) after your spouse dies;
  • You and your spouse want to maximize your estate-tax exemptions;
  • You have a disabled relative whom you would like to provide for without disqualifying him or her from Medicaid or other government assistance.