Setting up an estate plan is a serious matter for most people. Some people want to ensure that everything they have will go to the people who they want the items to go to. One way to do this as quickly and as inexpensively as possible after you pass away is to set up trusts. These are very useful tools that can be used with a will or in lieu of a will.
Do I always have to have a will when I set up trusts to handle my assets when I die?
You can use a revocable inter vivos trust, which is also known as a living trust, to distribute assets when you die. These can be used without having to create a will. When you use this type of trust, you can maintain control over the assets while you are alive. The written plan for the trust goes into effect when you die. As long as you are alive, you can change the plan for the will or dissolve it. A bonus to this arrangement is that when you die, the assets go directly to your beneficiaries without them having to go through probate.
What happens if something goes awry with the handling of a trust?
If there are issues with a trust that have a legal basis, such as a trustee not using the assets of the trust as intended, the court can step in to correct the matter. This is usually done by using a constructive trust or a resulting trust. Both of those are handled by the court to correct issues that occur.
There are instances in which trusts can get complicated. Ensuring that you are setting up trusts in a manner that will distribute your assets in accordance with your will is vital.
Source: National Paralegal College, "Types of Trusts," accessed Aug. 20, 2015