Providing Clients With Information on Estate Planning Law
Creating an estate plan with the help of an estate planning attorney is one of the most important things you can do for your future — and for the future of your loved ones. An estate plan ensures that you get to maintain control over what happens to your assets after you pass away.
There are many tools you can use as part of an estate plan, including a last will and testament, a living will, and financial and medical power of attorneys. However, trusts are often an overlooked tool that can be especially helpful for maintaining control over your assets and protecting them from estate taxes and delays in probate.
Whether you want to include trusts as part of your larger estate plan or have questions about how to prepare for the future, the estate planning attorneys at the law firm of MMZ Law can help. Schedule your initial consultation with a living trust attorney to discuss your needs and what services we offer.
What Is a Trust, and How Does It Work in Estate Planning?
A trust is a tool in estate planning that allows you to specify how your assets are used and who should get them. A trust involves three parties:
- The trustor: The trustor is the person who creates the trust and owns the assets that are being put into the trust.
- The trustee: The trustee is the person in charge of managing the trust and ensuring that the assets are dispersed according to the terms of the trust.
- The beneficiary: This is the person who receives the assets in the trust. The beneficiary can be a person or an organization, such as a charity.
Trusts work as part of a larger estate plan that should also involve other things, such as a will and a power of attorney. The trust protects the assets from having to go through probate, which means they are immediately available to the beneficiary according to the terms of the trust. Trusts are also highly customizable, and an estate planning attorney can help you understand how best to use them in your situation.
How Do You Choose a Trustee?
Choosing an appropriate trustee is one of the most important parts of creating a trust. The trustee needs to be someone who is willing and able to manage the trust. Depending on the terms and complexity of the trust, this may require someone with financial knowledge and experience. For example, if there are funds in the trust that are supposed to be invested so they can grow, you may want to choose a trustee who has experience with financial investments.
It’s also important to choose someone that you trust to make good decisions and act with integrity. The trustee has an ethical obligation to act in the best interest of the beneficiary and to be able to make impartial decisions.
Many people choose loved ones, such as a sibling or adult child, to act as a trustee, but trustees can also be unaffiliated third parties, such as an estate planning attorney or an accountant. If you’re not sure who to choose as a trustee or what you need to factor into the decision, talking with a trust attorney can help.
What Are the Different Kinds of Trusts?
There are many types of trusts, and it can be confusing when deciding which one is best for your needs. Here are a few of the most common types of trusts you may want to consider:
- Revocable living trust: A revocable living trust is perhaps the most flexible type. It can be altered at any point by the trustor as long as they are living.
- Irrevocable trust: An irrevocable trust is different from a revocable trust because it cannot be easily changed after it has been created. This type of trust is set up to be permanent from the date of creation, even if the trustor later changes their mind.
- Testamentary trust: A testamentary trust is tied to a last will and testament. This type of trust doesn’t go into effect until the trustor has passed away.
- Special needs trust: A special needs trust is a specific type of trust that is used to protect assets for those who have special needs or disabilities. The purpose of this trust is to allow those with special needs to be able to inherit assets without impacting their eligibility for benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid.
Estate planning attorneys have in-depth knowledge of each type, including the pros and cons, and can help you understand which type of trust works best with the goals of your larger estate plan.
Why Do I Need an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney?
The laws surrounding estate planning can be complex, and it’s important to have the help of an experienced estate planning attorney. An estate planning attorney will talk with you at length to get a better understanding of what’s included in your estate, what your goals are for your assets, and who you want your beneficiaries to be. They will also discuss any special situations you have that require more specific estate planning tools, such as special needs trusts or grantor retained annuity trusts.
When you need an estate planning attorney who has experience with trust and estate litigation, contact the estate planning attorneys at MMZ Law. We can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that takes advantage of all the benefits trusts have to offer. Call 909-347-7444 to schedule a consultation with a trust attorney, take the first step in creating your estate plan, and find out more about our legal services.