Trusts are complex legal vehicles, but they can bring some very simple and profound benefits to your estate and your heirs. One key to getting the most out of a trust is understanding what kind of trust you need. Working with a legal professional to choose a trust and implement it with your estate plans lets you avoid common pitfalls and take advantage of trust benefits.
One reason many people include trusts in their estate plans is that a trust can actually provide more long-term control of assets than a will. Trusts are not unlimited in their power, though, so control is not infinite. What trusts allow you to do, however, is set very specific boundaries and requirements for asset use. By appointing a trustee who you believe will honor the spirit of those boundaries, you can increase the chance that your wishes will be honored.
Trusts also help protect your assets from certain creditors and unscrupulous heirs. This is especially helpful if you might leave behind minor children or other dependents that can't care for themselves. You can create a trust to hold assets for the care of dependents with instructions on when and how the balance is disbursed.
Trusts also provide for additional privacy with regard to some probate matters. Unlike wills, trust information is not always made a part of the public record. Depending on the type of trust you create and the laws at the time, you might be able to use a trust to protect some details regarding the value of your assets and who is given access to them.
Source: Bankrate, "What trusts can do for you and yours," Cheryl Allebrand, accessed Jan. 01, 2016