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Trusts are often thought of in association with large estates, especially those of celebrities whose lives and finances are constantly under public scrutiny. You should know, however, that trusts can be used by anyone interested in estate planning and anyone committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for his or her family and beneficiaries.

A trust is simply a legal document that allows an individual to determine how and when his or her assets will be distributed upon death. The main advantage of a trust is that it allows property to be directly transferred to beneficiaries, skipping the sometimes costly and lengthy court-supervised probate process. Trusts can also help with asset protection, gifting, and tax planning.

Placing assets into a well-managed trust can help optimize financial gains and benefits earned during one’s lifetime through work, good planning, and investment. Anyone wishing to protect money and property from taxes, creditors, and the expense of probate can benefit from the flexibility and privacy of a trust.