Individuals in Massachusetts and throughout the country typically use a will to transfer their assets upon their deaths. However, it may be a good idea to use a trust to do so instead. A trust is managed by a person or entity that has a fiduciary responsibility to the beneficiaries of that document. This means that the trustee has to take actions that meet a beneficiary's interest and cannot engage in self-dealing.
Trustees must provide information about the trust and how it is being administered to a beneficiary upon request. There are many reasons why an individual could want to make a trust beyond the fact that it would be managed by a trusted person or entity. In addition, it could be used to protect assets from creditors, manage a business or keep the details of an estate private. When a person transfers assets through a will, it generally must go through a public probate process.
Trusts can also be ideal for parents or grandparents of minor children. This is because a trust can hold assets for them until they are old enough to take control of them. Living trusts are the most commonly used, and they are popular in part because an individual can amend its terms at any time.
Along with a will, a trust may be an integral part of an estate plan. An attorney may help with the process, which may include reviewing any documents that have been created in the past. It may be necessary to update the terms of a trust or revoke it based on changes to tax law or as life events occur.