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Will a revocable trust help meet estate planning goals?

The old saying, "you can't take it with you," is true. However, that does not mean that Massachusetts residents cannot retain control over with happens to it. For instance, some people may need nothing more than a will to meet their goals, but others will need something else -- such as a revocable trust -- in order to ensure that their assets are protected and distributed in accordance with their wishes.

Either approach will work, depending on an individual's preference. Some people are content with their assets being directly distributed after their death, and that is the case for numerous individuals. However, for people with more complex family dynamics and holdings, trusts can be invaluable.

The complexity of a trust can vary as well, depending on what it is supposed to accomplish. Estates whose values exceed the federal estate tax exemption, which is currently over $5 million per person, might need a particular kind of trust, depending on whether the goal is to merely save taxes, provide for a spouse or make sure assets are available for the great grandchildren. The majority of estates will not exceed that amount, however, so a revocable trust might be all that is needed.

The main benefit of a revocable trust is that it can be changed during the life of the Massachusetts resident creating it. None of the assets placed in the trust will go through probate either. Some people may discover that their children are not as savvy about finances. In that case, a revocable trust can specify when and how distributions are to be made from the trust. That way, the creator of the trust gets to control the flow of money to the beneficiary even from beyond the grave.

Source: Forbes, "Do You Need A Trust For Your Estate Plan?", Gary Plessl and Kevin Houser, May 14, 2015

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