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Making sure that your loved ones are protected is one of the most important concerns in determining how to plan your estate. The best way to protect your assets and make sure the right people receive your property is through the establishment of 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 the 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 and the guardian can be held accountable in a court of law.
Why Should I Set Up a Trust?
Maybe you’re questioning why you should be setting up a trust. Your will states where the money will go, why worry about a trust? But what you may not realize is a trust can not only protect your finances for your beneficiaries, but it can save you money in the long run.
For 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 any creditors.
In some cases, a will has to be filed with the probate court and will part of the public record. This makes it accessible to anyone and not just the beneficiaries. But a trust, which is not subjected to probate, keeps all information private.
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 what asset you want to go to which beneficiary. Since the trustee is under a legal obligation to follow your wishes, this means the asset will be passed on to the beneficiary just as you intended. This is especially beneficial for minor children and family 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 your jewelry, you can rest assured that your wishes will be carried out as long as it is referenced out in your trust.
What Type of Trust is Best for You?
There are quite a few options when you’re choosing a trust. It’s best to know what each type offers before creating a trust:
Revocable Trusts – Also known as grantor trusts, you are able to 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 had 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, 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 Nashville trust attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC to learn about your estate planning options.