Is a Trust the Right Estate Planning Choice for You?

Mature Couple in meeting signing contract an estate planning attorney.

When you make an estate plan, you want to make certain that your loved ones benefit from your financial legacy to the greatest extent possible. There are several different estate planning strategies for passing your assets along to your loved ones after death, some of which include using a trust. Talking with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney is the only way to ensure that you make the right estate planning choice for your unique personal and financial circumstances.

What Does a Trust Accomplish?

A trust is a special type of legal arrangement created by a formal document that is carefully drafted by a lawyer to address the unique circumstances of the individual creating the trust. After a trust is established and funded, the designated trustee manages and administers the trust according to the terms in the legal document. The provisions designate the beneficiaries who receive the distributions and control how the trustee distributes the trust property and assets.

Trusts can be created and funded during life. In creating a revocable living trust, a grantor (person creating the trust) is typically trying to avoid probate and add some marital protection. If the trust is irrevocable, the grantor is usually trying to protect assets during their own lifetime as well as avoid probate and add marital protection. In addition, a trust can control how assets may be used by the beneficiaries after the grantor’s death.

You may also use a last will and testament to distribute assets to your loved ones after your death. However, if you give property outright directly to a loved one in your will, the beneficiary receives the full amount of the gift all at once when the estate is distributed after probate. But you can establish a testamentary trust to control the distribution following probate. A testamentary trust enables you to protect assets from creditors, predators, or divorce during a beneficiary’s lifetime. In the instance of a child with a drug, alcohol or gambling addiction, a testamentary trust can protect the assets from being wasted by the beneficiary.

Since distribution under a will and under a trust are significantly different, it’s crucial to get help from a lawyer in making the decision about how best to structure your estate plan. In some circumstances, creating a trust may be the right choice for your estate plan. But the only way to make certain of that fact is to talk with a knowledgeable attorney.

Who Benefits from Creating a Trust?

One of the most common reasons for creating a trust is to avoid probate of an estate, which maintains the privacy of your financial information, saves costs and time in estate administration and probate, and gets the estate assets to your beneficiaries sooner. To avoid probate, the trust must be carefully and properly drafted and established under the guidance of an experienced estate planning lawyer.

In addition, a trust is often used to protect the family legacy for children and grandchildren, or to protect a legacy in the event of a late life remarriage or a marriage that creates a blended family. If your estate includes an IRA or 401(k) retirement plan, a trust may also minimize the impact of recent legislative changes that impact these types of retirement plans.

There are many other reasons for establishing a trust, just as there are many different types of trusts. Your unique situation determines whether you would benefit from including a trust in your estate plan, and what type of trust accomplishes your goals.

Why Should You Talk with a Trust Lawyer?

Your lawyer helps you determine whether your goals will be accomplished by passing assets directly to a beneficiary using a revocable living trust, irrevocable asset protection trust, or a will, or whether it would be more beneficial to pass the property to a subtrust using one of those three structures. Getting the proper analysis by a knowledgeable lawyer is the only way to make the best decisions for the future for both yourself and your loved ones.

Under no circumstances should you attempt to make that decision on your own without help from an attorney.

Get Help From an Experienced Georgia Trust Attorney

Our Cartersville estate planning practice at Asset Protection & Elder Law of Georgia focuses on helping clients identify and accomplish their estate planning goals by determining the right approach for their personal and financial circumstances. If a trust would be beneficial for your estate plan, we can help you establish a trust to address your specific needs.

We serve clients throughout the communities northwest of Atlanta, including in Bartow County, Cobb County, Cherokee County, Gordon County, Floyd County and Paulding County. To schedule a consultation, call us at (770) 382-0984 or contact us through our online form.

Categories: Estate Planning