Do you really need a trust?

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It’s common to assume a trust can help you automatically avoid probate, but that’s not necessarily how it works.

By Beth Newcomb

A lot of people think they need a trust, but they may not,” says Jay Nabors, who works with his wife, Linda, at Nabors & Nabors, the Strongsville-based law firm where attorney John J. Urban is of counsel.

“It’s common to assume a trust can help you automatically avoid probate, but that’s not necessarily how it works.”

A trust, says Jay, can be useful in certain circumstances. For example, if you’re divorced and you have minor children, a trust allows you to choose who controls the money from your estate after you die. It also allows you to appoint a person to distribute funds from your estate to your children in a manner that ensures they directly benefit, instead of your ex-spouse.

Another reason to have a trust is to delay the distribution of assets to family members or children.

“If anything goes through probate, the money is immediately distributed once the estate has been settled,” Jay says. “With a trust, you can have the money distributed in increments.”

You can also put your house in a trust and your trustee can sell it at the time of your death then keep control of the funds. You can name your trust as a beneficiary on life insurance policies and retirement accounts.

But there are some downsides to having a trust, like tax implications, that may not be in your best interest.

“Each person’s situation is unique so it’s best to sit down with an estate attorney to determine what’s best for you and your family,” Jay invites.

Nabors & Nabors offers Mimi readers a free legal services consultation in person or on the phone, with services at a contracted discount rate. Mention this story when you schedule an appointment. House calls and select evening appointments available.

Is a trust right for you? Just ask Jay and Linda.

To reach the attorneys at Nabors & Nabors Ltd., with John J. Urban of counsel, call 440-846-0000, ext. 227. The offices are located at 11221 Pearl Road, in Strongsville. Visit the website at