Each and every person in this state, in this county, and on this planet is different. We are not carbon copies of each other! Since we are all individuals with unique ideas, hopes, and dreams, why should your estate plan be the same stale, repetitive plan that your neighbor has? It shouldn’t be! And we promise it doesn’t have to be. Our estate planning approach is tailored to your specific needs. We spend countless hours working together with our clients to personalize each and every estate plan, but few people ever consider a niche trust and how or why it might benefit them, instead of the status quo kind of plan.
What is a trust?
A trust is a legal document that allows a third party, otherwise known as a trustee, to hold and direct assets in a trust fund on behalf of a beneficiary. A trust provides many options when it comes to managing your assets, whether you’re trying to shield your wealth from taxes, or pass it on to your children. Many people create trusts to minimize hassles and fees for their loved ones. Trusts are often used in addition to a Will to manage assets after a person passes, but trusts offer so many benefits that are not covered a Will, such as allowing your heirs to achieve a relatively speedy conclusion in settling your estate. A trust also allows you to control not only to whom your assets will be disbursed, but also how the money will be paid out — a crucial point if the beneficiary is a child or a family member whose ability to properly handle money is questionable.
Now that you understand what a trust is and how it works, let’s talk about the more unique kind of trusts out there.
- Pet Trust – This trust can either stand alone or be part of a revocable living trust. Pet trusts are used to provide for the care of pets after you pass or during any period of incapacity, and to appoint someone to care for them. A pet trust also nominates someone to handle disbursement of funds to cover pet care.
- Gun Trust – A gun trust is used to pass firearms to heirs in compliance with state and federal regulations and outside of probate. Due to the regulations and penalties for violating state and federal firearms regulations, it is crucial that you work with a qualified estate planning attorney when planning for the distribution of firearms.
- Incentive Trust – With an incentive trust, assets are held for the benefit of a beneficiary who must meet certain requirements before any distributions will be made. These trusts are put in place by you, the grantor, and certain requirements defined by you must be met prior to the distribution of any of the principal or income. For example, you could stipulate the funds be distributed:
Only when the beneficiary has graduated from college; or
Only if a beneficiary abstains from illegal drug use.
- Special Needs Trust – In a special needs trust, assets are set aside for the benefit of a beneficiary whose disabilities may allow that person to receive public assistance for medical and other care expenses. In order to guarantee your beneficiary will not lose government benefits or fail to qualify for those for which they would otherwise be eligible, it is important to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.
- Staggered Distribution Trust – Staggered distributions involve holding the trust assets in the trust and distributing them over time, at pre-determined beneficiary ages, dates, or life events. Staggered distributions also usually entail that the trust will continue existing after the death of the creator of the trust. This type of trust is extremely beneficial for instances where the beneficiaries are minors.
Have you made any estate planning arrangements with a trust (or two) designed with your goals in mind? At Jerimy Kirschner and Associates, we know trusts. We can put together a custom-made estate plan for you and your loved ones. Give us a call!