Stop being afraid of trusts! They are a great tool for financial planning, especially estate planning – nothing more – just a tool. It is like being afraid of a hammer – it’s just a tool.
A trust is a legal entity, just like you are a legal entity. (The President might even call a trust a “fake person.”) It exists, just like you exist, and the best part is you get to create it!
While there are many types of trusts, there is one basic model. You transfer your assets to your trust, which is administered by the trustee (which can be yourself or family members) for the beneficiaries (which can also be yourself or family members). The revocable living trust (RLT) is the most common type of trust. Revocable means you can change your mind anytime and terminate the trust whenever you feel like it. (FYI – Transferring your assets in or out of an RLT creates no taxes.)
If you want to avoid probate, think about an RLT.
If you want to keep your assets from becoming public knowledge after your death, think about an RLT.
If you want to control assets from your grave, think about an RLT.