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Weston Trust Attorney

Trusts come in all shapes and sizes: there are literally thousands of different types of trusts. As Weston trust attorneys, we have the experience to draft virtually any type of trust. However, the most popular trust by a large margin is the living revocable trust: without question, the living trust has become the modern and predominant way to protect and care for you and your family.

The living trust is a way to help ensure that you give what you have, the way you want – at the least possible cost. This trust is also a powerful legal tool to help make sure your hard earned money goes to your children – not their spouses, boyfriends, or girlfriends.

Many people have spent large sums of money on life insurance, but they have no instructions to make sure every dime is used in the wisest and most prudent way for their children. Life insurance that is not coupled with a living trust is a recipe for disaster. For example, if you name minor children as beneficiaries of a life insurance policy they could get a big sum of money when they turn 18 – and likely blow this money on a fast car and other luxury items rather than use it to secure a quality education.

What is a Trust?

A trust is simply detailed, legally binding instructions that must be followed. There are usually at least three major players in a trust: (1) the grantor or trustmaker who makes the trust; (2) the trustee whose job is to strictly follow every detail of the trust; and (3) the beneficiaries: except for legitimate costs, every penny of the trust must go the beneficiaries. As mentioned, today the most popular trust is the living trust.

What is a Living Trust?

A Living Trust is a substitute for a will, but it can provide much more flexibility and protection for your loved ones than a will. A will must go through a costly and time consuming legal process called probate. On the other hand, a properly funded living trust can avoid probate.

However, avoiding probate is only one reason a person should have a living trust. While the statistics are that over 85% that persons are likely to suffer a mental incapacity prior to death, many people do not plan for this. Failure to plan for such incapacity may mean the court intervenes in your personal and financial affairs through a legal process called Guardianship. No one wants to have a stranger judge supervising their personal life. A living trust is a way to minimize this risk and help ensure that legal control remains in trusted family members or friends – not a stranger judge with a huge caseload and little time to attend to your unique needs.

For a brief discussion of the benefits of a living trust see: Understanding Living Trusts. En Espanol: Comprendiendo Fideicomisos De Vida

What Other Types of Trust are Helpful?
  1. Special Needs Trust. Every parent with an autistic child or child with a learning disability should know about a Special Needs Trust. This type of trust is a way to help ensure that your child can continue to receive every type of federal, state, or local assistance before age 18 and after. If you were to die and your child received outright life insurance or other assets from your estate, such an inheritance could disqualify your child from government assistance. The Special Needs Trust will help ensure that your child continues to receive such government benefits, and that his or her inheritance is used to ensure that your child continues to enjoy the life style that they are accustomed to. These trusts are quite technical, and should only be draft by experienced estate planning attorneys. For more information see: What Is A Special Needs Trust? Also see, What Are the Benefits of a Special Needs Trust?
  2. Life Insurance Trust. This trust is important for anyone exposed to the federal estate tax. Currently, the exemption is $5.49 million; above this exemption the tax is high: 40%. If you have significant life insurance and are even close to the exemption, then you should consider an irrevocable life insurance trust. For more information see: What is An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust?
  3. Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT). The DAPT has become a popular way to protect assets if you are a physician or professional in a high risk profession. (It seems now days, all professions are high risk.) A DAPT should not be located in Florida, but rather in a state with laws specifically designed for such trusts. The top tier states for DAPT’s are Nevada, Delaware or Alaska. For more information on DAPT’s, Five Reasons Nevada Is the Top State for Asset Protection Trusts.
  4. Minor’s Educational Trust. This type of trust is popular for grandchildren to ensure that the grandkids get a first rate, quality post high-school education.
  5. Land Trust. Land trusts have a limited purpose to avoid disclosure of the landowner identity in situations where the landowner needs to buy up multiple, adjacent pieces of land. Caution: Beware of anyone trying to market land trusts as a way to protect your real estate investments; land trusts provide no asset protection.
Conclusion

Since there are thousands of different types of trusts, it is important to consult with an experienced Weston trust attorney. There is no such thing as a one size fits all trust. Each trust must be tailored to your unique family needs. Done correctly, a trust that lays out your detailed, legally binding instructions to care for you and your family will give you the peace of mind that your loved ones are protected through the uncertainties of life.