Would it make sense to put my home in RE trust to avoid probate? All my other assets have beneficiary designations.

Asked 9 months ago - Hingham, MA

Home worth about $700,000. Other assets $400,000. No spouse. One heir. This has been recommended to me, just want to double-check it is a worthwhile expense.

Attorney answers (5)

  1. E. Alexandra Golden

    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . RE trusts (otherwise known as nominee trusts) are problematic, to say the least. If you want to put your house in a trust, a standard revocable would do the job better and be more flexible. See a good estate planning attorney for guidance.

    E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are... more
  2. Jennifer A Deland


    Contributor Level 12

    Answered . What would make sense would be to use an actual trust - not a "real estate trust." An actual trust can do more than avoid probate. It can do that. But it can also protect your property against liens, including liens for medical costs or lawsuits which you may not foresee. You might want to talk with an elder law or estate planning attorney about this idea.

  3. Michael J. Baldassarre

    Contributor Level 4

    Answered . I agree with all the attorney answers. I think placing assets in a revocable living trust is a good idea. Also your estate may be over a million dollars, and if you intend it to grow you may want to consider looking into some estate tax planning to avoid Massachusetts estate taxes.

  4. Matthew Erik Johnson

    Contributor Level 17


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . That will depend on the general cost of probate in your state versus the cost to do the trust. Now, you want to make sure that if at all possible, you want to use a revocable living trust in order to take advantage of the real estate "step-up" in tax basis later on. It look to me that if you didnt use any of your unified tax credit so far, you have enough to cover your assets both at the Federal and state level.

    The only question then becomes whether there is some other reason to use a trust - for example if there is a high likelihood of your heirs fighting over the property - trusts are more difficult to overturn than a Will and thus limits the ability of heirs to squable over it. In addition, you might want to allow someone else to have some degree of control over the property, or protection for yourself if you plan to lease the property.

    If these things aren't concerns, then there really is not much of a reason for a trust.

    Matthew Johnson phone# 206.747.0313 is licensed in the State of Washington and performs bankruptcy, short sale... more
  5. Steven M Zelinger


    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Mr. Johnson gives a good answer - but I would add that if you use a living trust and place your assets in it now, in the event of your incapacity you can also have a decision maker as trustee over your property. While you may have a power of attorney, I've found that when a person is incapacitated dealing with a trust is usually easier than a POA.

    This is not legal advice nor intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The information provided here is... more

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