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About Trusts

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What is a trust?

A trust is simply your instructions for the management of all or part of your property. An attorney who represents you and has specific expertise in the area of estate planning should write your trust. The trust document describes:

  • How you want your assets managed, and eventually dispersed?
  • Who you want to benefit now and in the future?
  • Who you want responsible for carrying out these instructions?

What can a trust do for you?

Trusts can provide a measure of comfort knowing that you have a plan in place to help provide for the safe and accountable management of family assets and to direct their use in accordance with your wishes, goals and objectives.

Trusts are used to ensure proper management of your assets at all three stages of your life:

  1. During your active lifetime, placing assets in a trust allows you freedom to continue managing your assets or to devote time to other priorities. A trust created and funded during your life is generally called a “living” or “revocable” trust.
  2. In the event you are incapacitated, a trust can ensure that your needs are met and that your finances are kept in good order for your benefit.
  3. Upon your death, a trust becomes “irrevocable” and your assets are managed and distributed by your trustee, in accordance with your instructions throughout the trust’s existence.
  4. An estate planning attorney may recommend creating an irrevocable trust during your lifetime, in addition to a revocable trust. This may provide creditor protection, controlled giving to family members or estate tax minimization.

Trusts also provide protection for family members who may be unaccustomed to dealing with financial matters. They can offer protection of assets in case of divorce or other litigation. Trusts can assure that funding is available for specific needs, such as education, health care or charitable interests. Trusts provide a framework in which money is managed in a predictable fashion, by persons you choose, according to standards you set. Trusts create guidelines for current and future distributions that reflect your wishes. Trusts may also have substantial tax benefits and provide an expedient method to transfer assets.