What Is a Trust and Who Needs One? Expert Attorney Gives Advice

Not sure what a trust is or who really needs one? (By the way, they're not just for wealthy people!) Laura interviews Jules Haas, an attorney with more than 30 years of experience. They break down a heavy topic with simple language and examples. Find out the difference between a will and a trust, common estate planning mistakes you should avoid, considerations for couples who are not married, key legal documents that every adult should have, and how to get legal help when you need it.

Laura Adams, MBA,
November 30, 2016
Episode #475

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What Is a Trust and Who Needs One? Expert Attorney Gives AdviceMany people have heard of trusts but don’t really know what they are or who needs one.  

In a nutshell, a trust is a fiduciary relationship where the creator or trustor gives another party, the trustee, the right to own and manage assets for the benefit of a third party, the beneficiary.

You create the rules on how the trust will operate and when the beneficiary can have access to the assets held in the trust. You can even appoint yourself as the trustee and have multiple beneficiaries, such as family members or charities.

If a trust is revocable, you can change the rules at any time. But if it’s irrevocable, you can’t. I know, it’s a complex topic.

If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, creating a trust may be right for your situation:

  1. Do you have a family member with a disability who may need future financial help after your death?
  2. Do you have heirs who you believe would not manage an inheritance responsibly? 
  3. Do you have children and believe that your spouse would remarry after your death? 
  4. Do you want to be sure that your assets go directly to your heirs right away and avoid the public probate process? 
  5. Would you like a charity or grandchildren to receive your assets once you’re gone?

To help break down the topic of trusts with simple language and examples, I interviewed Jules Haas, a New York attorney with more than 30 years of experience in matters that include trusts, estate planning, estate litigation, probate, guardianship, and real estate.

[Listen to the interview using the audio player in the upper right sidebar of this page or on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and Spotify]

Even though thinking about death and what may happen to your loved-ones after you’re gone is a heavy issue, I think you’ll take away some important information from our conversation. We cover:

  • The difference between a will and a trust—and are they just for wealthy people? 
  • Common estate planning mistakes you should avoid 
  • Special considerations for couples who are not married 
  • Types of trusts that average people benefit from the most 
  • Key legal documents that every adult should have and whether you can use templates 
  • When an account beneficiary supersedes information in a will 
  • How to find a great estate planning attorney


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