Do we need a trust as well as a will?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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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 6 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.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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