Trusts are very powerful documents for families, especially those families with minor children. A Trust can hold assets for you, still under your complete control, during your life, causing very little, if any, change in your daily life. Upon death, however, an alternate trustee of your choice takes over and manages the assets for the beneficiaries (children), generally without court involvement. The new trustee must abide by the rules outlined in the trust.
Why are Revocable Trusts of particular interest to families of minor children? When leaving assets to minor children solely by a Will, assets must be managed by a conservator appointed by the court and will most likely be given to the minor children outright upon turning age 18. Some families are wary of an 18 year old getting “the keys to the estate” which may include real estate, life insurance, savings and investments.
Alternately, a Revocable Trust can hold assets after the death of a parent, paying for things like education, health, starting a business, and housing and not paying for things like sports cars and round-the-world trips to “find themselves.” The Trust can specify at what age or ages a child is given the remainder of the trust balance. Furthermore, assets in a Trust generally avoid “probate” in the court system which can be costly and time consuming.