Glen Allen Trusts Attorney
Protect Your Future With a Trust
A trust is a legal vehicle to transfer property for any number of reasons. In many situations, a trust is even more fundamental to a thorough estate plan than a will, especially if there are unusual circumstances, a larger estate, beneficiaries with special needs, or when professional judgment, or management or investment services are desired. Smart money management is all about planning for the future. Whether you’re preparing for retirement, disability, or for who will receive your property if you die, just about any financial decision you make today is all about building a more secure tomorrow for someone. One way to financially prepare for the future is to establish a trust. A trust is a legal document that protects and controls assets — anything from money to a home — set aside for a specific use or person. Trusts are often used in estate planning, as they allow you to say what happens to your assets after you’re gone and let you plan for potential taxes and other liabilities. Some people establish trusts for their children, spouses, or their favorite charities, but you can also establish a trust for your own future financial needs when and if you are unable to care for yourself. You can even establish a trust to care for pets.
A trust can be an effective tool for many people in many different financial circumstances. One of the biggest benefits of a trust is that it may allow you to circumvent probate. Probate is the legal process that happens when someone dies. A probate court examines the will to determine its authenticity and then distributes the assets accordingly. Probate is often an expensive process that can take quite a bit of time — sometimes years. In some cases probate may be simple but in other cases it can become quite involved. But when you set up a trust, you may get to skip the sometimes arduous process of probate. Skipping probate carries another benefit that wills don’t, which is privacy. This is because generally everything that gets filed with the probate court is part of the public record. If you start a trust as part of your estate planning, it can help to keep many of your personal wishes and the details about what you own at death private information, with much depending on the state that you live in. With this information kept private, there may be nothing, for example, for someone like an identity thief to go to the courthouse to look up.
Are you looking to leave money behind for your grandchild’s future college education? Or maybe you have a disabled adult child who needs financial support after you pass away? If so, a trust may be the perfect vehicle for you, as the specific wishes set forth in the trust document must generally be followed by the trustee (the person who manages the money per the trust document) even after you’re gone. Minor children are also unable to accept property outright, so establishing a trust in their name allows you to ensure that they’ll receive this money to use for the purposes you specify (like college tuition). If you want to support someone who has a disability or is incapacitated, as another example, a trust can have rules set up so the trustee can step in and use the funds for the person’s support, based on the wishes of the grantor (creator) of the trust. In some cases a trust can provide for the supplemental needs of a disabled person so that they remain eligibility for benefits. Married couples often use trusts in estate planning in case a surviving spouse remarries. Your trust can ensure that your assets go to only your chosen beneficiaries. Similarly, if it’s your second or third marriage and you both come to the marriage with children from previous marriages, you can set up a trust so that, upon your death, your assets would benefit your own children, instead of your spouse’s children, again depending on what you want to happen.
The options and ways in which you can set up a trust, generally speaking, are virtually endless. Working closely with a lawyer to make sure you’re taking the correct steps is important. At the Law Offices of Robin S. Gnatowsky, our Glen Allen trusts lawyer can help you establish a trust for your children, a charity, or for any other family member, organization, or person. You can even establish a trust to care for animals that you love. Contact our Virginia estate planning attorney online or call 804-935-8510 to schedule an appointment to discuss your situation. We help individuals, families and family trusts, charitable organizations, and small and family owned businesses in Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Florida.
The Uses and Benefits of Trusts
The most popular use of trusts is for the conservation and management of property on behalf of minor or incompetent beneficiaries. By establishing a trust fund, you can help ensure that your assets are passed down to your children and other family members at the appropriate time and on the terms and conditions that you decide on. Trusts can also be used for more sophisticated and orderly management of investments. Placing assets in a properly designed trust fund may also reduce or eliminate some taxes, but the real benefits of using trusts for estate planning are flexibility, privacy, and control.
An “inter vivos” trust or living trust, that is created during your lifetime, may also minimize probate costs and help avoid the requirements of annual court accountings in regard to estate property following your death. An inter vivos trust does not have to go through probate like a will and can help provide privacy in the transfer of property at death. It can also extend for many years or to any age or for the whole lifetime of a beneficiary, as you decide, without many of the costs and inconveniences of a court supervised guardianship.
Contact Virginia Living Trust Lawyer
Depending on your situation and needs, legal advice is important in determining whether a trust should be part of your estate plan. Sometimes, more than one type of trust is helpful to achieve different or coordinated goals. For more information, contact our Glen Allen trusts attorney online or call 804-935-8510 to schedule a consultation. We help individuals, families and family trusts, charitable organizations, and small and family owned businesses in Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C., and Florida.