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Are Trusts Only For the Wealthy?

A common misconception holds that living trusts are only for the very rich. The belief may stem from history; in the 16th century Britain kings often controlled their lords’ power by seizing and distributing their lands as they died; the structure of a trust allowed circumvention by deeding property to the church, with the understanding it would later revert to the proper heirs. shutterstock_235005190


By measure of the 2010 Survey Of Consumer Finances only 1.3% of Americans have received monies through a trust.


Yet, the median amount is a moderate $285,000, and with as little as $100,000 the benefits can be significant:


  1. The lengthy and slow probate process can subject funds to fees and charges amounting to between 2% and 4% of total estate value.
  2. A trust avoids probate as it is private; as a distinct separate legal entity, distributions occur without court involvement.
  3. Appointment of a trustee ensures that future decisions can be placed in effect long after the trust is created.
  4. A trust fully utilizes each person’s Unified Credit. Mandated by Congress, it will shelter, per person, just over $5 million. But, should the trust be structured with “A-B Provisions”, the death of one spouse separates the trust into two parts thus enabling the shelter from estate tax of nearly $11 million.


It is important to note that as total funds increase beyond that amount, estate taxes of up to 35% take effect. Living trusts are easy to set up, low-maintenance, and keep finances out of the public eye even after death. Consultation with an attorney specializing in estate planning can insure that your assets are protected; start a conversation with us today at (601) 925-9797.

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