For many Washington, D.C. residents, it may seem unnecessary to set up trusts for their grown children. However, trusts can help guarantee that children will get to keep whatever assets are left to them. Trusts can also help ensure children receive assets that one party brings into a second marriage.
Grown children will often already have assets and debts of their own. If a child inherits assets directly, those assets may end up being vulnerable to creditors. Also, if a child is married, a direct inheritance could become part of the marital estate. If that child then gets divorced, part of that inheritance could end up becoming the property of an ex-spouse.
When the person doing the estate planning is in his or her second marriage, trusts can protect assets that person wants to go to children from the prior marriage. Otherwise, if those assets are not somehow set aside, they could end up with the spouse from the second marriage instead of the children regardless of that party's wishes. Putting the assets into a trust for the benefit of those children will make sure that they receive them in accordance with that parent's wishes.
Washington, D.C. residents don't have to be rich to need trusts. These documents can provide anyone with the peace of mind that those assets they intend to leave to their children will be protected from both creditors and spouses. It's not the amount of the inheritance that matters, it's that it goes where the person making the estate plan wants it to go.
Source: Miami Herald, Age-old question: Do I need a trust?, Julie Landry Laviolette, Aug. 23, 2013