A will may be sufficient for estates without real estate that has less than $150,000 in gross value. However, good practice dictates that estates with assets over $150,000 be placed in a trust. Some lawyers and financial planners advocate the use of an irrevocable trust that prevents access to assets and thereby qualifies the creator for state nursing home care, or keeps the assets protected from creditors. The later case is at the core of many asset protection plans.
Either type of trust will not go through the probate process. Thereby the unnecessary delay (usually at least a year) and expense of probate is avoided. Note, all trusts do not work perfectly, but statistically, they have been proven to be the better course – especially when dealing with financial accounts.
A true irrevocable trust that protects assets will not be modifiable and in that regard someone in mid-life should be very cautious in making the decision to create a IRREVOCABLE TRUST.
In some cases involving real estate suffering from deferred maintenance probate is actually preferable. That’s one of many reasons why professional assistance is valuable in determining the best course for each individual. Probate – revocable trust -irrevocable trust – each has their own place and one size does not fit all. This advice is contrary to that of many financial planners and lawyers