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Trust-Based Planning

The most common type of trust is the revocable living trust. After creating a revocable living trust, you can continue to edit and update the trust so that it continues to reflect your goals and concerns as life changes. They are powerful tools to take care of yourself and your family. Because trusts come into effect once you sign the documents, they can provide excellent asset protection and incapacity planning. A comprehensive trust-based estate plan includes a Trust, a “Pour-Over” Will (which places any property not in the trust into the trust upon your death), a General Durable (i.e. Financial) Power of Attorney, Medical Power of Attorney, Living Will, and HIPAA Waiver. This type of planning provides you with comprehensive incapacity and passing away planning.

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Benefits of a Trust

A trust offers the following benefits:

  • Control of your property while you are alive
  • Take care of you and your loved ones in the event of incapacity
  • Pass your property to whom you want, when you want, and how you want
  • Ensure that the efforts you desire are used to prolong your life
  • Simplify and streamline administration after your passing or during incapacity
  • Your trust remains private during the administration of your trust
  • Your property can continue to benefit the surviving spouse after one of you passes
  • Protects your assets from being lost as a result of a remarriage after one spouse dies
  • Can protect your property and your loved ones from creditors, predators, and the mismanagement of property
  • Continue to teach your values, virtues, and vision to your loved ones
  • Flexibility with how you continue to take care of your loved ones after your pass, rather than outright distributions
  • Continue to provides structure for your descendants
  • Reduces the risk of litigation among your loved ones
  • Minimize income taxes to the extent possible
  • Minimize capital gains taxes on the sale of assets

FAQs

What is a trust?

A trust is an estate planning strategy. It offers you protection in the event of incapacity and allows for great flexibility with how your property is distributed after the person has passed away. 

What are the advantages of a trust?

A trust is a private document that is not available for non-interested people to access and read. A trust being to protect an individual as soon as the individual signs the trust, not just when the individual passes away.

A trust allows you to have provisions that govern how and when your property is distributed to your descendants. This allows for a continuation of parenting influence and can help descendants continue to reach their potential as they continue through life.

What are the disadvantages of a trust?

A trust is generally more expensive than a will. While it is an effective tool, it is less affordable for many people than a will.
 
A trust is also more “high maintenance than a will.” For a trust to work best, you have to actively manage ownership of your property for the trust to continually control your property. This process is called “funding.” It is best to counsel with an estate planning attorney to determine the best options to fund your trust.

Is a will or trust better for me and my family?

The decision to have a will or trust is an incredibly personal and unique decision. I advise that you meet with an estate planning attorney to help you understand your options and to help you make the best decision for yourself and your family.

What is a Trustee?

A Trustee is the person who administers your trust. In this sense, a Trustee is similar to the Personal Representative of a will. However, a trust is private, while a will is public.
 
A Trustee also has duties to the trust’s beneficiaries, called fiduciary duties. This means that a Trustee could be found legally liable if the Trustee inadequately administers a trust. I would suggest that a Trustee contact an attorney specializing in Trust Administration for help.

What is a Standalone Retirement Trust (SRT)?

A Standalone Retirement Trust (SRT) is a special type of trust.  A standalone retirement trust, (SRT) for short, is a trust used to provide asset protection and maximized tax deferred growth for spouses, children, and other loved ones. This means more assets go to the people you care about.

The SRT is popular and can benefit you and your loved ones because it:

  • Protects inherited retirement accounts from beneficiaries’ creditors as well as predators and lawsuits
  • Ensures retirement accounts go to whom you designate – and nobody else
  • Allows for experienced management and oversight of assets by a professional trustee
  • Prevents beneficiaries from reckless spending or gambling
  • Enables proper planning for a special needs beneficiary
  • Permits you to name minor beneficiaries as immediate beneficiaries without court-supervised guardianship
  • Facilitates generation-skipping transfer tax planning
What is an irrevocable trust?

An irrevocable trust is a type of trust in which assets are transferred out of the your estate into the name of the trust. You, as the person who established the trust, cannot alter, change, modify, or revoke this trust after execution. It’s irrevocable and you usually cannot be in control.  Irrevocable trust assets have increased asset protection and are kept out of the reach of creditors.  Taxes are often reduced because, in most cases, irrevocable trust assets are no longer part of your estate.

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