Should you place your home into a trust?

As you progress into your older years, you are likely aware of the need to make sure your children or other younger relatives end up with your home after your death. However, probate can be lengthy, expensive and public, which may not align with your wishes.

Fortunately, putting your home in a trust could be an option, provided that it meets your expectations and concerns for yourself and your heirs.

Reasons to assign your home to a trust

Avoiding probate is one of the primary advantages of putting your home in a trust. Unlike a will, which must go through probate, trust assets typically bypass this process. This can save your beneficiaries significant time and money, allowing them to take possession of your home more quickly.

In addition, trusts offer greater privacy compared to wills. While wills become public records during probate, trust details remain private. This can help prevent family disputes or unwanted scrutiny of your personal affairs.

Trust ownership of your home could also provide protection if you become incapacitated. The trustee is responsible for maintaining the property on your behalf and that of your chosen beneficiary. This can give you peace of mind knowing your home will receive proper care according to your wishes.

Possible pitfalls of trust ownership

Creating and maintaining a trust is generally more expensive than drafting a will, so this option may not be desirable if you are on a tight budget. Additionally, if you establish an irrevocable trust, you typically cannot change the terms or beneficiaries down the line. You could also lose some control over your home, such as the ability to make renovations to your property.

Also, placing your home in a trust does not automatically protect your other assets in the home from probate. You may need to take additional steps, such as setting up payable-on-death accounts or transfer-on-death deeds, to ensure more of your estate avoids probate.

Putting your home in a trust can be a strategic way to transfer ownership to your desired beneficiaries while avoiding the hassles of probate. However, it may create complications that you do not feel you can handle. Carefully weigh the potential benefits and drawbacks to determine if this approach aligns with your estate planning goals and priorities.



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