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Establishing a trust can help estate plans in different ways

Estate planning can be a crucial part of anyone's overall life blueprint, but all the minute details and elements to sift through can be overwhelming. While drafting a will is the most common and most essential part of an estate plan, there are many different ways to protect assets and provide a legacy.

Trusts are some of the most useful instruments of estate planning. When someone sets up a trust, he or she names a trustee and the intended beneficiaries, effectively dividing ownership of the assets that make up the body of the trust. The trust will be controlled by the trustee, who has a fiduciary duty to manage the assets in the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. This allows the creator of the trust a great deal of control over how the assets should be managed and distributed. Trusts can provide many different benefits such as avoiding probate, minimizing tax liability, maintaining privacy and more.

Since the assets no longer belong to the person who created the trust, the assets are not necessarily part of that person's estate when he or she passes away. Thus, the assets in the trust do not necessarily have to pass through probate court before they are distributed, nor are they subject to estate taxes. And unlike a will, a trust can go into effect while the creator is still alive. While the loss of ownership may sound alarming, stipulations can be set up to ensure proper distribution of the funds, even if the original owner is still alive.

Trusts can be extremely useful in setting up an estate plan. They can, however, also be very complicated in size and scope. Seeking the assistance of an experienced attorney can help those who want to tighten up the future of their assets. Donnelly Ritigstein Law Offices has experience in dealing with many different types of trusts and can help those in need of clarification. For more information, please visit our trust planning web page.

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