I often receive calls from clients asking if I could set up a Revocable Living Trust for them. Sure, I can, but the real question is why do you think you need a trust?
Many people believe they need a trust so that their assets will avoid probate at their death. Financial advisor Suze Orman is constantly on television insisting that everyone must have a revocable living trust. While such trusts may be useful in states like New York or California where probate can be costly and time-consuming, that’s not generally the case in North Carolina. In North Carolina, probate is fairly quick and cheap, and in many situations, you’ll pay more to set up a trust than you’d pay in probate fees.
Revocable living trusts can be a big money-maker for attorneys, but why should you pay a few thousand dollars for a trust when your estate could be probated for only a few hundred dollars? Certainly, trusts can be valuable for certain clients, such as those with a disabled child, those seeking to protect assets from the cost of nursing home care or to qualify for certain government benefits, and those with taxable estates. However, for those clients merely seeking to avoid probate, a trust is not always the answer.