As you set your goals for this new year, have you considered taking a new look at your estate plan to make sure that you are using the most effective estate planning tools to protect yourself, your family, and your assets? One tool that is often very beneficial when incorporated into an estate plan is a trust. A trust is a vehicle in which you can place some or all of your assets to be managed by one or more trustees for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries as governed by the goals, powers, and limitations set out in the governing agreement. There are a variety of different trusts that can be created to provide you with the most asset protection and estate planning benefits, depending upon your goals and your specific circumstances, and it can be important to understand all of your options as you consider what works best for you.
There are trusts that you can establish in your will, called testamentary trusts, which may be helpful to create if you have minor children. There are trusts that you can establish now, while you are still living, called living trusts or inter vivos trusts, which can provide multiple benefits, including the simple benefit of avoiding the time and cost of probate. There are trusts that you can revoke or change the terms, called revocable living trusts, and trusts that you cannot, called irrevocable living trusts. The former can allow you to maintain more control over the assets in the trust while the latter may provide certain additional tax benefits. If you are worried about a beneficiary being irresponsible with the funds given to him or her, you can establish a spendthrift trust. If you are worried about taking care of a beneficiary with a disability, you can establish a special needs trust. The possibilities go on and on.
A trust can be such a versatile tool. It can also be beneficial to a wide range of families and circumstances. Make sure one of your new year’s resolutions is to speak to an experienced estate planning attorney today to understand whether, and how, you can incorporate one of the many different types of trusts into your estate plan. For more information on using a trust in your estate plan, our office is happy to assist. Please reach out to us today to schedule an appointment.