What Is a Trust?

A Trust is a written legal agreement that provides instructions on how a person(s) or business desires their property to be used and distributed for the benefit of the person or others, most often family members. The agreement is written to include three parties. The Grantor is you, the person whose property will be managed, the Trustee, the person you designate to carry out your instructions, and the Beneficiar(ies), the person(s) you decide will benefit from the distribution of your property.   The Grantor is often also the Trustee as long as she is able.  The Grantor will name Successor Trustee(s) to take over when needed.  The Grantor is often also a Beneficiary during his lifetime.   The beauty of a Trust is that you, the Grantor, are the one who makes the decisions for the future.

Why Do I Need a Trust?

Many people believe that only the very wealthy need trusts in their estate plans.  They believe that unless one is a multi-millionaire, there is no reason to use a trust.  However, trusts are valuable tools for both lifetime planning and planning for after your death.

Many individuals and families use trusts for a variety of reasons, and there are many types of trusts. A few of the reasons that people may choose to use a trust include: controlling distribution of assets to minor children; avoiding a probate proceeding upon death; setting a schedule over time for the distribution of assets to minor or adult children or grandchildren; protecting beneficiaries from third parties; protecting beneficiaries from themselves; creating a plan for management of assets in the event the Grantor is incapacitated; providing for the intricacies of blended families; and taking advantage of tax savings strategies.

The type of trust depends upon the needs of the client and the particulars of a situation. The type of written trust that is most often included in a basic estate plan, along with a Will, Power of Attorney for Property, and Health Care Power of Attorney, is known by a variety of names, including Revocable Trust, Revocable Living Trust, and Inter Vivos Trust, to name a few. (Irrevocable trusts are also appropriate in certain circumstances; for example, to provide for a family member with special needs.)


Benefits of Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney for Your Trust

An Estate Planning Attorney is there to assist you to find the right solution for your unique situation. It is imperative that someone takes the time to understand your wishes for yourself and your family. For example, do you want your children to receive all of their funds at once, or would you prefer distributions at various ages? Or perhaps you want your children to receive distributions for specific purposes such as travel, wedding expenses, or help to purchase a home. An Estate Planning attorney can make sure that your trust is written in such a way as to ensure that your instructions are carried out successfully. We can help you achieve peace of mind and the knowledge that your beneficiaries will be taken care of in the years to come according to your wishes.