Ensuring that your loved ones are protected is one of the most important concerns when planning your estate. The best way to protect your assets and ensure the right people receive your property is through a trust. The Nashville trust attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC can assist you in choosing and creating the right trust to protect your family’s future.
What is a Trust?
A trust is used to distribute property or finances to a selected individual or organization after a person dies. Each trust has a set of legal guidelines that determine the specifics of how the property is distributed and when. Violating these rules is considered a breach of fiduciary duty. If the trust’s guardian breaches their fiduciary, they can be held accountable in a court of law.
Why Should I Set Up a Trust?
If your will states where your money should go, why worry about a trust? What you may not realize is that a trust first protects your finances for your beneficiaries. They can also save you money in the long run.
With certain types of trusts, you can transfer assets and property to the intended individual while you are still alive. This can help avoid the probate process and certain types of estate taxes. It can also protect your assets from creditors.
In some cases, your family needs to file your will with the probate court, which makes it part of the public record. This makes its information accessible to anyone, not just the beneficiaries. But a trust, which is not subjected to probate, keeps all information private.
A Trust vs. a Will
A trust also puts control of the estate in your hands. Unlike a will, where the asset is passed to your beneficiaries, you can designate specifically which asset goes to which beneficiary. Since the trustee is under a legal obligation to follow your wishes, the asset will pass on to the beneficiary you intended. This is especially beneficial for minor children and family members with special needs.
A trust also gives you the power to make certain gifts to individuals or organizations. For example, if you want a specific piece of jewelry to go to a loved one, it will as long as you state it in your trust.
What Type of Trust is Best?
There are quite a few options when you’re choosing a trust. Which trust is right for you will depend on your unique needs. It’s best to know what each type offers before creating a trust:
Revocable Trusts – Also known as grantor trusts, you can control the assets, change the terms of the trust, or even get rid of the trust completely.
Irrevocable Trusts – These trusts cannot be changed once you pass away. Instead, the trustee is in control of how the assets are distributed. Yet, the trustee still needs to follow the guidelines the grantor established when distributing the assets.
Family Trusts – These are designed to transfer an estate of high value to a living spouse without incurring any estate taxes. It’s important to note that there are limits to the value of the property that can be inherited tax-free.
Special Needs Trusts – Also known as supplemental needs trusts, these trusts allow a special needs family member to continue receiving government benefits even if they receive a significant sum from an alternative source, such as an inheritance.
How Our Nashville Trust Attorneys Can Help
Our Nashville trust attorneys understand how difficult it can be to make decisions about the future. With compassion and respect, we will work with you to make the process as simple as possible. Do not avoid the future. Now is the time to plan accordingly, or else the courts will make the decisions for you.
Contact our trust attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC to learn about your estate planning options.