A trust is an agreement that determines how a person's property is to be managed and distributed during his or her lifetime and also upon death. A trust is classified as a "living" trust when it is established during the settlor's lifetime and as a "revocable" trust when the settlor has reserved the right to amend or revoke the trust during his or her lifetime.
KEY BENEFITS OF TRUSTS INCLUDE:
- Property may be transferred without probate, speeding the transfer to beneficiaries and eliminating post-death court costs
- Assets of certain trusts will not be counted with respect to the beneficiaries' eligibility for means-based government benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). (These types of trusts require significant advanced planning.)
- You can specify terms guiding how your beneficiaries use trust assets
- You can protect your assets from the creditors of your beneficiaries
- You can determine who will receive any trust assets that remain after the death of the initial beneficiaries
- You can help to protect your spouse from becoming impoverished in the event that you require long-term, institutionalized care
A trust may offer significant financial savings to you and your beneficiaries. Careful discussion with your lawyer is required to ensure that the design of your trust is aligned with your goals and the makeup of your estate. Your attorney will use the most up-to-date legal tools available.