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

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.

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Attorney answers 5


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 negotiations, and estate planning in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King and Pierce counties. The response does not constitute specific legal advice, which would require a full inquiry by the attorney into the complete background of the facts and circumstances surrounding this matter; rather, it is intended to be general legal information based on the limited information provided by the inquirer; it This response also does not constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship, which can only be established after a conflict of interest evaluation is completed, your case is accepted, and a fee agreement is signed. Johnson Legal Group, PLLC


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 informational in nature only. This attorney may not be licensed in the jurisdiction which you have a question about so the answer could be only general in nature.


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 for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.


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.


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.

Jennifer A Deland

Jennifer A Deland


Revocable living trusts have the advantage of flexibility, but the disadvantage of being subject to the settlor's liabilities.

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