Do we need a trust as well as a will?

We have inherited 1/3 of a farm. We plan to sell the farm.
Would it be a good idea to put our land in a trust as one of
the siblings did? We have already changed our will so that
our children would get our 1/3 if something happens to us
before a sale.

Asked on March 22, 2016 under Estate Planning, Minnesota


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

An irrevocable trust--one that you can't change or take back--can spare your property from probate or from estate tax *if* not only it is irrevocable, but also if you do NOT control the trust (e.g. you're not the trustees)--that is, to get this particular benefit, you have to NOW put your property beyond your ownership and control. While that might be worth it, it's a drastic step--consult at length with an estate planning attorney and also a tax professional to see if this is the best thing for you.
The other purpose of trusts is to provide some structure or control over inheritances, if you worried about what the heirs or beneficiaries will do with their inheritance. For example, if you wanted the land to keep being farmed, you could put it  into a trust that would let your children work the farm and get the profit, but they could not sell it; or if you feel your children might not be ready for a lot of money until later in their life, you could put assets into a trust to be doled out to them periodically, to make sure they don't waste or spend an inheritance all at once.

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