What is a Living Trust?

A Living Trust is an agreement made during your lifetime between you (the Settlor or Grantor) and an individual or entity (The Trustee).  The Trust agreement determines how Trust assets will be managed and distributed.  Trusts can be Revocable or Irrevocable.

What are the Benefits of a Living Trust?

A Living Trust can provide various benefits to meet your goals.

  • The trust provides for management of your assets during your lifetime.  Your co-trustee or successor trustee can manage the trust assets if you become disabled.  This can often eliminate the need to go to court for the appointment of a guardian.
  • You can establish a trust to meet your special needs in the event of a catastrophic illness.
  • You can avoid probate upon your death and save expenses and fees because the trust contains instructions for the distribution of your assets after your death without court proceedings.
  • Trusts can be used to minimize estate taxes upon your demise.

What is a Revocable Trust?

Revocable Trusts allow you to maintain control over the trust assets by acting as a Trustee or by exercising your right to amend or revoke the Trust. A Revocable Trust, sometimes referred to as a “Lifetime Trust”, avoids probate and provides on-going management in the event you are unable to manage your financial affairs.

What is a Irrevocable Trust?

Irrevocable Trusts cannot be changed, altered or revoked by you.  An Irrevocable Trust can save estate taxes or protect assets in the event of a catastrophic illness, depending upon the terms of the Trust agreement.

What is an Assets Protection Trust?

An Asset Protection Trust is a type of Irrevocable Trust that allows you to protect your trust assets in the event you apply for Medicaid to pay for long term care services.  The funding of the trust is subject to the Medicaid lookback and transfer penalty rules.

What are Minors Trusts?

Minors Trusts allow you to set aside funds for a minor for his or her benefit while growing up.  The funds can be used for educational purposes.  There can also be income and estate tax advantages to you.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A Special Needs Trust can be used to provide for the needs of another individual, without affecting the individual’s eligibility for various government benefit programs, such as Medicaid.

What are Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts?

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts can be created to provide substantial estate tax savings.  Insurance proceeds can escape estate taxation, and at the same time, be used to indirectly pay for estate taxes or provide liquidity for family needs.

What are Grantor Retained Trusts?

A Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT), Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT) or Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) can be used to save estate taxes by gifting assets to a trust at a discount.  These trusts also allow you to receive benefits from the trust for a period of time.