Being able to bypass probate is a major benefit of establishing a trust for children or other relatives, but using this estate planning method can help your family in other ways. In your case, you might want to keep your property transfers as discreet as possible.
During probate, the court oversees the distribution of assets, which becomes a matter of public record. Details about your assets, debts, and who inherits what become accessible to the general public. Since a trust does not pass through probate, it remains private, which could help your family in the following ways.
Allow relatives to grieve in private
If you have expensive assets that can draw attention, you probably do not want your family to deal with questions or comments about your wealth. Thanks to the privacy of a trust, your loved ones may grieve without the added burden of public scrutiny. Also, since trusts generally act quicker than probate, your family spends less time waiting to receive their inheritance and dealing with the stress of the situation.
Reduce family conflict
Sometimes family members who disagree with what a will says challenge the document in court. The public nature of a will allows children and other relatives of the decedent to learn about the assets listed in the will and who gets them. By contrast, putting property and wealth into a trust provides more secrecy, so there is less chance of conflict breaking out if a family member wants something in the trust.
Ward off scam artists
When probate exposes your assets, it creates an opportune moment for unscrupulous individuals to target your estate. Scam artists often exploit public records to identify potential victims and devise fraudulent schemes.
According to AARP, sometimes fraudsters check obituaries to glean information so they can pose as long-lost relatives to gain an inheritance or steal the personal info of the deceased to access financial accounts and tax benefits. Keeping your assets within the confines of a trust reduces the risk of scams and theft attempts by con artists.
Information from FindLaw points out that the average cost of setting up a trust is $2,000, so establishing one is not only for the wealthy. Your family situation and other circumstances should tell you if guarding your property from prying eyes with a trust is the best solution.