Q: To think about how to manage my life’s earnings and distribute them upon my death exhausts the soul. Would it be easier and less emotional to let my children and beneficiaries engage in mortal combat over what they never earned? Or is it wiser to prepare a revocable trust or will?
A: A revocable trust is a legal estate planning tool used to protect assets and ensure that your wishes are carried out after your passing without probate (unlike a will). While the concept of a trust may seem abstract, try to understand its importance through the lenses of theology, psychology, and sociology.
A revocable living family trust is a way to be a good steward of your resources. The Bible teaches us to responsibly manage what we have received and ensure our resources benefit future generations. By creating a trust, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and used in a way that aligns with your values and beliefs. For example, you may choose to set up a trust that provides for your grandchildren’s education or supports a charitable cause that is important to you.
A revocable living family trust can provide peace of mind and a sense of control. When creating a trust, you actively deliberate on your desires and make decisions on the distribution of your assets. It can be a cathartic process that allows you to reflect on your life and values and to ensure that your legacy reflects who you are and what you believe in. Additionally, knowing that your assets are protected, and someone will carry out your wishes can alleviate anxiety and provide a sense of security.
A revocable living family trust can help preserve family relationships. When you die without a clear plan for the distribution of your assets, it can lead to conflict and resentment among family members. By creating a trust, you can communicate your wishes and ensure that everyone is on the same page preventing misunderstandings and disagreements, and can help to maintain positive relationships among family members.
For example, consider a family where the parents have three children. Without a trust, the parents’ assets would be divided equally among the children. However, what if one of the children has special needs or requires more financial support than the others? By creating a trust for the special needs child, the parents can ensure that everyone is cared for fairly and equitably.
By considering the theological, psychological, and sociological implications of creating a trust, you can decide whether a trust is suitable for you and your family. Before doing nothing, seek the advice of an experienced estate planning attorney that practices wills, trusts and probate.