Trusts are complex, powerful and versatile private planning tools that direct how a person’s assets are used after his or her death.
By creating a trust and appointing a trustee (or trustees) to manage it, you can contribute to a protected repository of funds that can be used to benefit a surviving spouse or child, a disabled or incapacitated loved one, or a charitable organization, to name a few options.
Unlike wills, which call for a one-time distribution of assets, trusts are designed to protect and control assets over years or even decades. They are also protected from certain taxes and legal vulnerability in lawsuits. They can also greatly simplify the probate process by taking trust assets out of the estate equation.
We assist clients in protecting establishing and maintaining a wide variety of trusts designed to protect their assets, limit estate taxes and ensure their financial legacies.
Special Purpose Trusts | Estate Tax Planning Lawyers
Although the complexity of trusts can be daunting, it is this complexity that makes them such effective asset preservation tools. Think of a financial need you can anticipate today – such as a need for money to pay for nursing home care or to protect certain assets from being taxed with your estate when you die – and there is a specific trust that can address that need.
For instance, a special needs trust can be used to safeguard your property and income as you grow older, while enabling you to remain eligible for Social Security Income and Medicaid benefits. Whether set up privately or by a court order, a special needs trust requires that someone other than you serve as the trustee and manage the property. However, the benefit is that the trust can be used to pay for your recreation, education and other supplemental needs, while you remain eligible to receive government assistance for medical care, housing, food and other basic needs.
Another popular trust, the revocable living trust, enables people to establish ground rules for how their assets will be handled after their deaths. Unlike wills, which can determine which assets (and how much) go to whom, revocable living trusts can set conditions on how those assets are used. A common example is the “spendthrift” trust, which can place conditions on how an inheritance is used. In essence, the trust “lives on” after the grantor’s death because it continues to enforce his/her intentions.
Other types of trusts we assist clients with include Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) trusts, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts and irrevocable life insurance trusts. Each has different purposes and operates differently. Meet with us, and we will be happy to discuss your personal and financial goals in detail, and determine the trust options that will most benefit you.