It seems to go in cycles . . . you don’t hear anything about “Living Trusts” for a year or two, then someone like Suze Orman says . . .

“You must have a trust.” So what about you? Do you need a trust? Suze says you do (and unless I’m mistaken, you haven’t met Suze personally).

This is not a ‘bash Suze Orman’ column. She has solid financial insights on some things. This is a blog to tell you that the “one size fits all” living trust is dangerous.

Estate planning, like financial planning, needs to be personalized. The computer programs or website which claims to give you a finished document, like a Trust or a Last Will & Testament, cannot replace the professional who is trained to spot issues which are not evident on the surface.

Trusts can be used to care for certain assets on behalf of another person. They can be used to care for an indigent or otherwise helpless person (including a minor who is not able to care for or speak for themselves). Irrevocable trusts can be used to minimize estate and inheritance taxes. Of course, the money you transfer into an irrevocable trust is no longer your money – it belongs to the trust.

A trust requires a purpose, a corpus (or some asset in the trust), some direction as to how the trust is to operate and distribute and a trustee. Be sure you understand how all the moving parts operate before agreeing to create a trust – just because Suze told you to!