Assuming you decide to have a will, you should consider establishing an inter vivos trust if one or more of the following situations apply to you:
- You have property of substantial value and wish to avoid the expense and delay inherent in probate proceedings and having a court supervise the distribution of your property following your death.
- Your property is not owned in joint tenancy with another. For example, you are unmarried, or you are divorced, or you have remarried and wish to preserved property you brought into the marriage for your children from an earlier marriage.
- You own real estate in a state outside the state in which you reside or claim as your domicile.
- You own a business.
- You have no one you wish to name to administer your estate (or whom you trust) and wish to designate a corporate trustee (for example, a bank and trust company) to serve as your executor and trustee in handling the distribution of your property.
- You have beneficiaries who are minors, immature, disabled, and/or elderly who are not able to manage financial assets, and you want to ensure that the financial assets passing to them will be properly managed and used for their welfare.
- An inter vivos trust can accomplish other goals related to tax planning, asset preservation, and creditor protection.