Do I Really Need a Trust if I’m Single and Have No Children?
I am 72 years old. I have approximately $900,000 in assets… virtually all are in bank accounts and mutual funds/stocks (with appropriate beneficiaries). I am single, without children. I owe nothing to debtors. The only other assets I own are some personal things (of little value to others) and a RAV4 Toyota (2015). My question is: Do I really need a trust? (I have a will.)
No, you don’t really need a trust, but there are two situations where it could help.
First, if you were to become incapacitated, revocable trusts work better than durable powers of attorney in terms of allowing an agent to step in to handle your finances for your benefit. While it’s contrary to law, banks and investment companies are known to refuse to honor durable powers of attorney. They are more comfortable with trusts. If you have a co-trustee with you, rather than a successor trustee, it works even better. The co-trustee can step in and act for the trust (really for you) seamlessly. A successor trustee would still have to go through the process of getting added to your accounts upon your incapacity.
Second, upon your death, it can be easier, faster and less expensive for your remaining assets to pass to your heirs through a trust than through probate. Since you don’t have children, this may be less important than the first reason to consider a trust.