Estate Planning and Elder Law: Do I Need a Trust?

By Ann E. Salek, Attorney at Law
Critchfield, Critchfield & Johnston, Ltd.

In my Estate Planning and Elder Law practice, I am often asked, “Do I need a trust?”

Many people hear about their friends or family who have a trust and they think they need one in their estate plans, too. Therefore, I have established a general list of common situations I have found among my clients that will trigger a “red flag” to me that we should investigate the necessity of a trust for that client’s estate plan. A brief summary of those situations are as follows:

  • Asset protection for long-term care (Medicaid or Veterans benefits planning)
  • Beneficiaries who are minors and you want to avoid the children having full access to assets at a young age
  • Beneficiaries with disabilities
  • Beneficiaries with addictions
  • Beneficiaries who are spend-thrifts
  • Beneficiaries with suspect spouses
  • A desire to keep assets in the bloodline (children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.) rather than in-laws
  • Remarriages
  • A concern that the surviving spouse will re-marry or be taken advantage of and want to make sure assets are eventually distributed to children
  • Own a vacation home
  • Own a closely held business- succession plan
  • Asset protection – in a high-liability profession
  • Taxes

Any one of these single issues could warrant a full article on that subject alone. This is not meant to give advice on an estate plan or long-term care plan (elder law issues). Rather, this article is merely meant to give a list of situations of which to be aware when considering whether someone may need a more sophisticated estate plan or long- term care plan.

Ann E. Salek, Ohio State Bar Association Certified Specialist in Elder Law, and Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Critchfield, Critchfield & Johnston, Ltd. Attorneys at Law
4996 Foote Road, Medina, OH 44256 330-723-6404 •

Opinions and claims expressed above are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of ScripType Publishing.