We Help You Leave Property to Those You Choose and Avoid Probate
Trusts can make probate a less taxing event for your estate executor and heirs
Using trusts to manage and distribute your property can be an effective alternative to executing a will. You can create a trust that benefits yourself and your spouse while alive and then distributes assets to your children or others upon your death. Unlike wills, trusts are not part of your estate, so they are not subject to probate, or estate taxes. And whereas wills become public record when they pass through probate court, trusts can remain private affairs. Estate & Elder Law Services has more than 30 years’ experience in the strategic use of trusts for estate planning.
Estate planning goals can be met using revocable, irrevocable and special needs trusts
There are many types of trusts available for use in estate planning. The trust you use in any given situation depends on your goals and intentions when creating the trust. Among the most useful and common types of trusts are the following:
- Revocable trusts: A revocable trust allows the person setting up the trust to retain the right to alter the trust at any time. This flexibility can be of great value. However, revocable trusts, also referred to as living trusts or inter vivos trusts, have certain limitations, most notably that trust assets may not be shielded from your creditors.
- Irrevocable trusts: When you place assets in irrevocable trusts, you generally have no opportunity to change the conditions of the trust at a later date. If you set up an irrevocable trust and do not retain the right to income or principal from the trust while you are alive, the trust assets are usually shielded from your creditors.
- Charitable trusts: Trusts are often used to give property to charity. A charitable trust allows you to do so in a manner that avoids gift taxes.
- Marital trusts: A marital deduction trust can be used to leave property to your spouse, but ensures that after the surviving spouse’s death, the trust assets pass to another party. This could include children from a different marriage. A QTIP trust is one type of marital trust.
- Special needs trusts: A special needs trust is authorized by federal law and protects the disabled from losing government disability benefits, which can occur if the individual has outside sources of income that exceed certain levels. Assets, such as a personal injury settlement, can be placed in a special needs trust and be used to supplement government benefits.