A trust is an estate planning tool in which you allow a third party (called a trustee) to hold your assets on behalf of your beneficiaries. Several types exist.
What is a trust, and do you need one? These are good questions, but the answers depend on your goals for your estate.
Each kind of trust can help you meet a different goal, and you can set up as many as you need to protect your assets and your heirs. Some trusts can even be useful for small estates.
A trust is a legal arrangement that gives a person or business the authority to hold assets on your behalf. Depending on the type, a trust may also include instructions on what to do with the assets.
The person setting up the trust is the grantor (that’s you). The person or business managing the trust is the trustee. In many cases, you can be trustee while you’re alive. Lastly, the people or organizations getting assets from the trust are the beneficiaries.
Trusts offer several benefits to you and your heirs, especially if your estate is large.
Avoid probate. Probate can be lengthy and expensive, and skipping it may let your heirs get their inheritance faster and keep more of it.
Increase privacy. Probate is also a public process, so avoiding it can keep your estate private.
Lower estate taxes. Certain trusts may not be considered part of your taxable estate.
A trust can take one of two forms: revocable or irrevocable.
A revocable trust, also called a living trust, lets you stay in control while you’re alive. You can change the terms and even dissolve the trust at any time. Assets often pass to heirs outside of probate, but may still be considered taxable.
An irrevocable trust is set in stone once you sign the paperwork. You no longer own the assets, and you can’t change or dissolve the trust for any reason. It will avoid estate taxes, but beneficiaries may still have to pay income taxes on distributions.
Each type of trust offers different advantages.
A bypass or credit shelter trust provides income to a surviving spouse, but doesn’t become part of his or estate. When your spouse dies, any assets pass to your successor beneficiaries.
The generation-skipping trust distributes assets directly to your grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.
A special needs trust supports a person who is disabled or otherwise unable to support themselves.
Spendthrift trusts allow you to control your heirs’ spending. For example, you can set up a distribution schedule, or name specific expenses the trust will pay.
Other trust types include charitable remainder trusts, life insurance trusts, and even pet trusts.
What’s best for you depends on your goals—both for your estate, and your heirs. Remember, you can set up as many trusts as you need to meet your goals.
Before setting up your trust(s), you may want to get advice from an estate planning lawyer in your state. Laws governing trusts vary a lot by location.
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Having a will is important in estate planning, but it should also be complemented by a trust. A trust will distribute assets automatically to your beneficiaries once you pass and can save time, money, and most importantly, stress from spending additional time going through probate. If you want to ensure your trust is set up correctly, call the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn & Associates for NY’s leading estate planning service. The Law Office of Inna Fershteyn & Associates has been providing many individuals with legal help for over 22 years. With high ratings and over 200 positive reviews and counting, hear first-hand from some of our very own clients as they discuss their experiences at our firm. If you have any questions or want to speak with an attorney today, visit or contact our office at: 1517 Voorhies Avenue 4th Floor Brooklyn, NY 11235 (718) 333-2394 https://brooklyntrustandwill.com/cont... For more information about our firm: https://BrooklynTrustAndWill.com/ Our practice areas include: Medicaid Fraud, HRA fraud, SNAP fraud, Wills and Trusts, Estate Planning, Elder Law, Guardianship, NY Will Probate, Fair Hearings Music from https://filmmusic.io "Easy Lemon" by Kevin MacLeod (https://incompetech.com) License: CC BY (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/b...)
Attorney Thomas B. Burton answers a reader question about whether her sister can claim compensation for serving as Trustee of her mother's trust.
A Revocable Trust A Revocable Trust, also known as a living trust, is one of the best estate-planning tools the attorneys at Jurado & Farshchian, P.L. can create for you. A revocable trust can be a great way to avoid probate and efficiently manage and protect your assets after your death, which is something for which your beneficiaries will be immensely thankful. Many benefits come with a Florida revocable trust, which other estate-planning documents in Florida, like a will, cannot offer. Avoiding Probate with a Revocable Trust As mentioned earlier, one of the main benefits of using a revocable trust is that, unlike a will, a revocable trust will allow your estate to avoid probate and be distributed directly to your beneficiaries. This instrument will help save thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours. As you probably know, probate is the legal process an individual’s estate goes through when he or she passes away owning assets in his or her name. Besides the high amounts of time and money required to complete probate, the big problem with this process is that the court that handles your case will have full control. With a revocable trust, you have total control over what happens to your assets when you are no longer around. Keeping Control with a Revocable Trust A revocable trust is “revocable” because you have the power to change, amend, alter, or revoke the trust altogether at any time. A Florida revocable trust is a document that instructs a trustee on how to distribute the assets when you pass away. Generally, you are the manager of your revocable trust while you are alive. However, if you are unable to manage your trust, you get to choose the person who will manage your assets for you, and a court will have no control over this decision. A revocable trust is similar to a will in many ways. However, unlike a will, revocable trust assets do not pass through probate; they pass from your name to the name of the revocable trust. In other words, you no longer own the assets; the trust owns the assets. When you create a revocable trust, you keep total control of any assets you transfer into it. Usually, when you create a trust, you are the trustee and the beneficiary, which means you can revoke or amend the trust at any time. However, we recommend that other trustees be named in a revocable trust. This additional step can be extremely helpful in the event you become incapacitated, as your co-trustee can continue to manage your trust. Managing a Florida Revocable Trust If you have a trust, once you pass away, your trustee will have the duty of administering your estate. Such overseeing occurs efficiently and privately. When an estate goes through probate, the process is public, expensive, and time-consuming, and the personal representative must follow strict guidelines. Therefore, you should consider transferring your assets into a revocable trust. When you pass away, any assets that are not in your revocable trust must go through Florida probate. Thus, we recommend using a Pour-Over Will in conjunction with your Revocable Trust. A pour-over will tells the Florida probate court to transfer your assets to your revocable trust when you pass away. Protecting Your Assets with an Asset Protection Trust A Florida revocable trust has many benefits. However, asset protection is not one of them. The assets you transfer into a revocable trust are unprotected from your creditors. If creditor files claims, your assets act as if they were owned by you and are exposed to creditors with valid claims. By using a Florida Asset Protection Trust in conjunction with your Revocable Trust. When used in combination, both documents contain provisions to protect your beneficiaries from your creditors after your death. This is something for which your beneficiaries will be immensely thankful.
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What Estate Planning Documents Does He Have? Epstein filed his will in the U.S. Virgin Islands where he claimed to live permanently. He created a pour-over-will, which essentially transfers all of his assets into a private trust. He listed the two executors of the trust to be Darren K. Indyke and Richard D. Kahn, who are his former colleagues, and named the document “The 1953 Trust”. There also are no beneficiaries named in the trust, however, it is assumed that his brother, Mark, who is Epstein’s only living heir, will end up as the beneficiary. Since this specific type of document allows for anonymity of the trustee’s assets, what is in the estate will not be made public. However, unlike the trust, his will is considered to be a public document. With a will, the probate process must occur before any assets can be transferred into a trust and distributed to the beneficiaries. In Epstein’s case, the courts have to decide how they want to proceed with the multiple lawsuits against Epstein first. Epstein’s Domicile Clearly not your average man, Epstein had residences in New York, Florida, New Mexico, and Paris. However, he listed in the will that his permanent residence is in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Domicile, which is where one permanently resides, is very important in deciding which jurisdiction will have control over the estate. His residency must be proven in probate court with some form of documentation such as a driver’s license, tax returns, or even time spent in a specific jurisdiction. It is believed that he has been claiming the U.S. Virgin Islands as his domicile for quite some time, which may make it easier to prove his residency in a courtroom. The Validity of the Will As with all estate planning documents, proper execution must include a present witness, or the entire will may be considered invalid. In this case, the will signing had two witnesses: private attorneys Mariel A. Colón Miró and Gulnora Tali. Aside from having witnesses, validating a will requires evidence that the testator had the mental capacity to make certain decisions, a decision that is evaluated by the probate court judge. If the will is considered to be invalid, either due to proven incapacity or any other reason, Epstein’s entire estate will go to his brother, who will still have to pay off creditors claims and lawsuits. Are His Victims Entitled To Anything? The alleged victims that have brought a criminal case against Epstein to court are entitled to some form of justice. Since Epstein took his own life, there can no longer be a criminal trial, but there can be civil lawsuits. In this case, it may be easier for the victims to prove that they were assaulted, since the concept of “beyond a reasonable doubt” only applies to criminal cases, and in general, civil suits have somewhat of a lower bar for proving that someone is guilty. The best possible outcomes for these victims, at this point, is to receive monetary damages from his estate. However, the order in which the assets will be distributed varies upon the laws of each state, which means that nothing can be resolved until the question of jurisdiction is resolved. How Long Will This Take To Resolve? Due to its complex and high-profile nature, this case can take many months up to several years to reach an end. There are multiple steps that have to be made to first understand who is the executor of the will, and only then can it be decided what assets get distributed where and to whom. It’s a fair assumption that it will take a decent amount of time for justice to be served.
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