No, trusts aren’t just for rich people. They’re for everyday people too, because they help you direct where your assets are to go after you pass away, plus they help your survivors avoid the lengthy court process called probate that will occur if you pass away without a trust (even if you’re not rich). Think about it: if you pass away and you own a house that’s not in a trust, who now owns your house? What’s the legal process for your survivors to transfer title to the house to themselves or to a buyer? The answer is, with you gone and unavailable to sign a deed, the only way to do it is to get a court order and that’s expensive and time consuming.
That expense and time can be avoided if you form a trust such as a revocable or living trust, which dictates what’s to happen to the house after you’re gone. The reason this is so is because, from a technical legal perspective, you don’t own the home at the time you pass – rather, the trust owns it and the trust remains in existence even after you’re gone. Therefore, your survivors can seamlessly take control of the house and do whatever they want with it (so long as what they do is in line with what you’ve dictated in the trust). I’ve been using a house in these examples, but any assets can be placed into a trust.
So a trust’s effect is really twofold: (1) your survivors can seamlessly take control of the assets you’ve left behind; and (2) you can control who gets your assets with more certainty than you can with just a will.
So, again, trusts aren’t just for rich people – they’re for everyday people with assets and a desire to