Since I conceived of Safe Harbor Wills and Trusts 20 years ago, I have been an advocate of using trusts for an estate plan rather than simply a Last Will and Testament. I built my business on the concept. One of the reasons for that position is seeing the unnecessary stress the costs and delays of probate foists upon the people already most impacted by their loved ones demise.
Much of that stress is caused by the inherent costs and delays of the Probate process itself. It is just natural that things cost more and take more time when they must go through governmental systems. Its not anyone’s fault, its just the way the system works.
Trusts avoid probate, and remove this burden from the survivors.
When talking to folks about Trusts versus Wills, some have used the following concept as a rationale not to invest in a trust: “well, my kids will have to deal with all of that, not me. After all, I am the one who died.” That might be a bit cavalier but, its their family and their money.
But what if your family couldn’t gain access to the courts after you passed? What if the courts were shut down? What if the house could not be sold? The stocks in a plummeting stock market could not be sold? Money could not be given from your estate to a child or grandchild who needed it, now?
I never would have imagined such a thing, this is where we are, right now. We have probate cases piling up in our office, but we cannot even file them with the court to begin the process. We can’t get executors named for the estate. Without an executor, no action can be taken on behalf of the estate.
However, for our clients who had trusts with us, and then passed away, those trusts are being processed without delay. Why? We don’t need the courts.
Once this has ended and you are ready to updated your estate plan, please consider a Trust, even more strongly that you may have before. It is not an expense, it is an investment against the “what ifs” in life.
Above all else, please, stay safe and be well.