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Trusts - Is one right for my family?

Trusts of various types have been described in the last several blogs - Revocable, Irrevocable, Testamentary and Special Needs.  There are other types of trusts as well, such as those for charities, pets, or education.  Whether or not Trusts are right for your estate plan depends on your family's needs and your assets.    

Trusts have many uses, but they are not for everyone. For example, at the present time, Revocable Living Trusts are often sold as a way to avoid probate or estate administration, which is the process of handling the affairs of a person after his or her death. (Probate usually begins with the filing of a Last Will and Testament at the Register of Wills office and swearing in a personal representative.) In Pennsylvania, probate is relatively quick and inexpensive. In other states, different rules apply, which may make Revocable Living Trusts more important. There are many factors to consider. Revocable Living Trusts will not usually save taxes, whether these are inheritance taxes, federal estate taxes or income taxes. Revocable Living Trusts may or may not make the handling of a deceased person's affairs easier. Avoid fast talking salespeople who are selling Revocable Living Trusts, or any other trusts, following a "free seminar" or a "free lunch."

Meeting with an experienced elder law attorney to discuss your family and their needs, to discuss your assets and goals, and to discuss how you want matters handled in the future are all part of the preparation of estate planning documents, which may or may not include the preparation of one or more types of trusts.

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