A will is one of the most basic estate planning documents, and everyone should have one to make sure that there is no question about what would happen to their assets and kids if something were to happen to them. But there are some cases when having a trust in addition to a will is imperative. Here are six of them:

Avoiding probate or conservatorship.

A trust will bypass the probate process, saving the people you love time and money. To carry out instructions in a will, a probate must be opened in your county’s probate court, and that means your family is stuck dealing with the court if you get hospitalized or after you die.

Providing for a person with special needs.

If you have a child or another dependent with special needs, a trust (commonly known as a Special Needs Trust) can protect assets for a special needs person without jeopardizing that person’s qualification for government benefits. A will allows you to transfer assets to person with special needs, but it will not protect those assets.


Since a will undergoes probate in the local probate court, it becomes public record. A trust is private.

Blended families.

If you are part of a blended family, a trust can give you the flexibility you will want to make sure that children from prior marriages are provided for in the way you want.

Out-of-state property.

If you own property in another state besides Michigan, you can more easily transfer ownership via a trust than a will. Transferring out-of-state property in a will usually means additional legal expenses because you could have probate in multiple states, and that is no fun for the people you love.

Asset protection.

If you want to protect the assets you leave your loved ones from creditors (including bankruptcy and divorce), a trust is the way to do it. It’s a gift you can give your loved ones that they could not easily (or at all) give themselves.

If you would like to learn more about the use of trusts to pass on what you care about to the people you love, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk.

This article is a service of Legacy Counsel PLC. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure that you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Legacy Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and become empowered to make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Legacy Planning Session. Mention this article to find out how to get this $750 session at no charge.

This article is a service of Legacy Counsel PLC, an estate planning law firm in Saint Joseph, Michigan.

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