A will is an important part of any North Carolina estate plan, but a will only does so much. While a will gives you a means through which to determine who you want to inherit your assets, you may be able to accomplish other important estate planning objectives by creating one or more types of trusts.
Per Kiplinger, you may want to consider including a trust in your estate plan if you plan to leave assets behind to more than one beneficiary. You may also want to consider doing so if you wish to do any of the following.
Leave assets behind on a conditional basis
Maybe you have one or more children whom you do not necessarily trust to be responsible with what you leave behind. In this scenario, you may want to create a trust and then set certain stipulations about when your trustee may make distributions from it. For example, maybe you only want a child to inherit from it once he or she graduates, turns a certain age, overcomes a substance dependency or what have you.
Protect eligibility for public benefits
A trust may also serve you well if one or more of your intended beneficiaries currently receives means-based government benefits, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income. That way, any assets you leave those individuals are the technical property of the trustee. This means they are not going to factor in and make him or her ineligible for public assistance.
Many people choose to create trusts for these two reasons. However, there are many other important estate planning goals a trust may help you accomplish.