Available Trust Options For Estate Planning

By Kantrowitz, Goldhamer & Graifman, P.C.Family Law Attorney

Trust Lawyer

Estate planning is a necessary process for planning for the future, and because it can be complicated, a trust lawyer can share that having a legal professional and financial advisor will be integral to understanding options and developing a plan. Estate planning encompasses a variety of tools, and as our team at Kaplan Law Practice, LLC can explain, having a plan in place can help to safeguard wealth and ensure the financial stability of your loved ones upon your demise. One essential estate planning tool that can be beneficial is establishing a trust. A trust is a strategic instrument that provides flexibility, control, and security for your assets, ultimately facilitating the seamless transfer of wealth. There are various trust options available when estate planning, and it’s essential to clearly understand the options when determining the correct type of trust to consider.

What is a Trust?

While many estate planning tools are in place depending on a person’s situation, a trust is a particular tool available that may help the trustor protect assets for beneficiaries. A trust is a legal arrangement where you (the trustor) grant another party (the trustee) the right to hold your assets on behalf of the beneficiaries. A significant advantage of a trust is that it helps avoid probate, the time-consuming and costly process of proving a will. Understanding the various types of trusts can assist you in identifying which options best meet your estate planning needs.

Revocable Living Trusts

Revocable living trusts are a form of trust that is established during your lifetime. These types of trusts can be altered, modified, or revoked entirely per the trustor’s wishes. They are especially beneficial if you wish to maintain control over your assets while alive but provide for a smooth transfer after death.

Irrevocable Trusts

Irrevocable Trusts are a type of trust that cannot be modified or revoked without the beneficiary’s consent. This kind of trust effectively reduces estate taxes as the assets within the trust are removed from your taxable estate. While irrevocable trusts can be challenging to change, they can protect the estate from legal judgments and creditors.

Charitable Trusts

Charitable trusts are another type of estate planning tool available to a person considering developing a trust. A trustor with philanthropic inclinations can gift a portion of their estate to charitable organizations. There are two types of charitable trusts: Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) and Charitable Lead Trust (CLT). The CRT provides the trustor or other named beneficiaries with income from the trust for a period, and the remaining assets go to charity. Conversely, the CLT grants the income to a charity for a period, and the remaining assets revert to you or other beneficiaries.

Special Needs Trusts (SNT)

A special needs trust is developed to benefit beneficiaries with disabilities who also qualify for public assistance. The assets in this trust supplement the beneficiary’s needs without disqualifying them from receiving government benefits.

Generation Skipping Trust (GST)

A Generation-Skipping Trust, also referred to as a Dynasty Trust, allows the trustor to transfer a substantial amount of money tax-free to beneficiaries at least two generations your junior — typically your grandchildren.

Life Insurance Trusts

Life Insurance Trusts are also popular tools in estate planning. By placing a life insurance policy within a trust, the proceeds from the policy will not be subject to estate tax. Thus, it preserves more wealth for your intended beneficiaries.

Considerations for Developing a Trust

When considering a trust, remember that it’s essential to seek counsel from an experienced lawyer who can assist in determining whether a trust is appropriate and identify the right kind of trust based on your situation. A lawyer can guide their client in establishing a trust that best suits their unique circumstances and meets their estate planning objectives. Trusts are a versatile and practical component of estate planning. With many trust options available, an estate plan can be customized to secure assets, protect the financial futures of beneficiaries, and even uphold philanthropic values.

Previous Post Next Post