Ohio residents who are creating an estate plan might want to consider a trust. While some people may think of trusts as only being for wealthy people, they actually have a number of uses. A trust simply refers to a legal relationship that names a trustee, who might be the person who creates it, manages assets for its beneficiaries and has the titles to those assets. The assets contained in the trust might be a home, investments or other types of property.
Among the potential uses of a trust are reducing estate taxes, avoiding probate and creating charitable giving opportunities. Trusts allow a person to control how assets will be distributed, allow for detailed estate planning in the event a person is incapacitated, maintain an estate's integrity and allow for creative solutions to complex family situations such as caring for a special needs child.
Choosing the right trustee is important. The party must be responsible and organized and must be able to manage the assets impartially. Some people choose to appoint a corporate trustee because of the expertise it can bring to the position. Another option is appointing a corporate trustee to serve alongside a family member or another trusted individual.
Using a trust to avoid probate can be useful for people who want more privacy in their estate planning. The probate process is a matter of public record, but a trust can be entirely private. The probate process can also be expensive and may take a long time while with a trust assets can be passed down directly to beneficiaries. However, there are costs associated with trusts as well. An attorney can review those costs while discussing with a client what type of estate planning tools would be most appropriate.