Trusts

Trusts are a common tool used in estate and nursing home planning.  A trust operates to protect a person’s assets and preserve them for future use.

A trust is formed by a person (the settlor) who transfers property into the trust which will be managed by another party (the trustee) for the benefit of a third party (the beneficiary).  The settlor will provide the drafting attorney with specific terms which will govern the drafting and operation of the trust.  The trustee will manage and/or dispose of the property according to the terms of the trust.  A trustee can be a bank-related trust department, licensed bonded and regulated by the state, Uncle Bob, a trusted relative, or even the settlor.

There are many different kinds of trusts which are generally divided into two categories – irrevocable and revocable (or living) trusts.  An irrevocable trust cannot be terminated or modified by the settlor once it has been created.  A revocable, or living trust, on the other hand, provides much more flexibility in its administration and can be terminated by the settlor.

Trusts can be used in a number of ways to achieve a variety of purposes.  Trusts often are established as a substitute or a supplement to a will, with the benefit of avoiding probate.

However simple a trust may seem, creating a trust is not something to be dabbled in by amateurs or gone alone.  In some states, all trusts are considered irrevocable unless the settlor provided otherwise in creating the trust.  This means that any errors, miscalculations, problems, or events that arise during the life of the trust which may have been thought through, discussed, and addressed with an experienced estate planner may not be correctable.

Our attorneys are well versed and practiced in trust creation and management.  They, along with our experienced staff, can help you create the trust that will best serve your needs.

In order to help us develop the best estate plan for you, we have prepared a Wills and Estate Planning Questionnaire from which we should be able to get all the information needed to complete a draft of your Will(s) and preparing other estate planning devices.  However, there may be some unique facts and circumstances in your case requiring further inquiry in order to properly plan your estate.  If this is the case, you may need to explain further in the space provided in the questionnaire.  ONLY ONE FORM NEEDS TO BE COMPLETED PER COUPLE.  Please click on the link above to fill out the questionnaire, which is in a PDF format and can be printed with your home computer.