Trust In Trusts: Making Sensible Choices In Estate Planning

Real Estate BY Barsha Oct 10, 2023

A trust is an arrangement by law that provides one party, referred to as the trustor, to grant another party, the trustee. At the same time, it helps manage assets on behalf of the beneficiaries. This involves several components such as money, real estate properties, investments, and more. It

It plays a significant role in estate planning. At the same time, it provides the owner of the assets a level of control over what happens to their possessions after they pass away or become incapacitated.

Understanding trusts is essential as they carry several potential benefits which include minimizing estate taxes, shielding assets from potential creditors, and avoiding probate. A  legal process and a time-consuming and potentially costly legal process that validates a deceased person’s will so their assets distribution is easy. Trusts also ensure that your assets go to the beneficiaries that you designate in a manner that you dictate. For people with significant assets or complex familial situations, trusts offer a level of control and protection that other estate planning tools simply don’t offer.

What Is A Trust? 

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement born out of a legal relationship in which one party is called a trustor. It is assigned to another party, known as a trustee. They have the right to be responsible and accountable for these assets for the benefit of a third party. You know them in the name of beneficiary.

An individual set up a trust so that they can give legal safeguards for the trustor’s  assets. At the same time, it ensures that those assets are segregated according to the trustor’s wish. Alongside, it also saves time. It also eliminates the use of paperwork. In some cases, it avoids or reduces inheritance or estate taxes.

Trust Composition & How Trusts Work

There are three components of a trust: the trustor, the trustee, and the beneficiary. The trustor is the person who creates the trust by transferring his or her assets under the care of the trustee. The trustee can be an individual, an institution, or a group of individuals. They undertake the task of handling the assets as per the terms of the trust. The beneficiary is an individual or entity that will eventually receive the assets in the trust. For more complex situations, one can facilitate trust operations with the help of professionals. For example, estate lawyers Edmonton provide comprehensive advice and services on how to strategically set up trusts.

Related: Why Writing A Will Is Critical To Estate Planning

Types Of Trusts

Each of these trusts caters to different needs and circumstances. Revocable trusts’,another name is  living trusts. The trustor modifies or revoke them during his or her lifetime. This flexibility often provides comfort to the trustor, knowing they retain control over the property. One can not alter or terminate Irrevocable trusts, without the permission of the beneficiary once you establish them.

Charitable trusts are set up to benefit a particular charity or the public good. Special needs trusts are designed to provide for a person who is physically or mentally disabled, without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. Lastly, spendthrift trusts come with a clause that prevents the beneficiary from selling their future interest in the trust or from creditors reaching it before it is distributed.

Differences Between Trusts

A revocable trust allows for change and is suited for those who wish to maintain control over assets and be able to alter the distribution if circumstances change. An irrevocable trust is more rigid, but it offers certain tax advantages and asset protection that a revocable trust does not.

Charitable trusts, on the other hand, serve philanthropic interests and provide significant tax benefits. A special needs trust can be quite complex, but it’s incredibly beneficial for families who need to provide for a disabled loved one without disqualifying them from government assistance. A spendthrift trust provides a way for the trustor to control benefits beyond the grave, protecting their assets and loved ones from creditors and from the beneficiaries’ own potential mismanagement of funds.

Benefits Of Trusts

Setting up a trust offers several advantages. They include preserving wealth for future generations ensuring proper distribution of your wealth.  They protect your privacy and potentially reduce estate tax liabilities. Trusts often avoid probate—a public, often lengthy, and potentially costly legal process that validates the deceased’s will.

This means one can distribute it to the trust’s beneficiaries more efficiently and discreetly. Each type of trust offers its unique benefits. 

Revocable Trusts 

Revocable trusts provide flexibility and control since they can be changed at any time during the trustor’s lifetime. Irrevocable trusts offer significant tax advantages and protection from potential lawsuits or creditors.

Charitable Trusts 

Charitable trusts offer philanthropic satisfaction, tax advantages, and possible income streams.  Special needs trusts allow a disabled beneficiary to enjoy the use of property that they hold in the trust for his or her benefit. They do it without disrupting their government benefits.

Spendthrift Trusts 

Spendthrift trusts offer reassurance to the trustor that the beneficiary won’t waste the money or have it taken by creditors, as the trust dictates when distributions are made and often restricts the beneficiary’s access to the principal.

When Might You Need A Trust?

If you have significant assets you want to protect and pass down to future generations, a trust can be a useful tool. Trusts can also be helpful if you have minor children or dependents with special needs since trust can ensure their future financial stability. In certain circumstances, trusts can also reduce your estate taxes, protect your assets from creditors, and save your heirs from the probate process, which can be lengthy and costly.

One can not underestimate the importance of trusts in estate planning as they offer a smart way to ensure your assets are managed and distributed as per your desires. Understanding the types, benefits, and when to resort to which type of trust is crucial for effective estate management.

So whether you’re seeking to safeguard your wealth for future generations, provide for a disabled family member, or protect your assets from lawsuits or creditors, there’s a trust type designed to meet your particular needs.

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Barsha Bhattacharya is a senior content writing executive. As a marketing enthusiast and professional for the past 4 years, writing is new to Barsha. And she is loving every bit of it. Her niches are marketing, lifestyle, wellness, travel and entertainment. Apart from writing, Barsha loves to travel, binge-watch, research conspiracy theories, Instagram and overthink.

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