Securing Your Legacy with Raleigh Trust Attorneys
Depending on your goals, different types of trusts can be used. Your goals are always the starting point in any good estate plan. After you have determined your goals, the next step will be to develop strategies that allow you to reach those goals. You may want a trust that can help you avoid probate as well as control the distribution of your assets when you die. This is a revocable trust, which is the most common type of trust. A legacy trust can protect your beneficiaries from mismanagement of assets and ensure your wishes are honored. If your goal is to provide protection for yourself while you are alive (protection from lawsuits, creditors, or the costs of long-term care), then you might consider an asset protection trust. You may also want a trust that allows you to leave money to your favorite charities, or one that allows you to protect your special needs child. Whatever type of trust you need to accomplish your goals, the Raleigh trust attorneys at NC Planning can help you achieve those goals.
What Do Trust Attorneys Do?
Trust attorneys are estate planning professionals who can assist you in creating the necessary paperwork to set up a trust for your estate. A trust attorney should not simply set up your trust; your attorney will delve into your unique situation to determine what type of trust you need.
Your Raleigh trust attorneys at NC Planning will help you understand all the different types of trusts available, then help you choose the best one(s) for you. While many people name themselves or a trusted family member or friend as trustee, others may choose a professional fiduciary like a trust attorney. Even if the trust attorney is not named as trustee, he or she may play a significant role in trust administration after you are gone.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Trust?
There are many benefits offered by trusts. Perhaps the most well-known benefit of a trust is that probate court can be avoided. Probate can be both expensive and lengthy and is a public process as well. Other benefits of having a trust include:
- You are able to maintain some control of your finances even after you pass away. With a living trust, you can continue protecting your family, even after you are gone. If you want to delay trust distributions until your children reach a certain age, ensure your special needs child is taken care of, or make sure the money does not go to ex-spouses or creditors, a living trust can help you do that.
- Having a trust significantly reduces the possibility of a court challenge. It is much more difficult to prove incompetence for the grantor of a trust than for the person making a will. To challenge a trust, it must be shown that the actual documentation is invalid or that you were improperly influenced by a third party. Since you actively manage your trust during your lifetime, it is not a single event like writing a will.
- A guardianship hearing may be avoided through the use of a trust. Without a living trust, a court-appointed representative may be granted authority to manage financial matters on your behalf should you become incapacitated. When you have a living trust, a successor trustee—chosen by you—is named to take over your financial affairs. Since you chose this person, it is likely you trust them to handle your financial affairs as you would have done.
- Asset protection can be a benefit when you implement an asset protection trust. This type of trust holds an individual’s assets with the purpose of shielding them from creditors. Asset protection trusts offer protection from judgments against your estate, lawsuits, and creditors, helping avoid costly litigation before it even begins.
- There are tax benefits associated with having an irrevocable trust. Assets placed in an irrevocable trust may be sheltered from estate tax after your death. Additionally, you can make an annual exclusion gift to the irrevocable trust each year without having to pay additional gift tax on the contribution.
What Are the Benefits of Having a Trust Attorney?
Deciding to prepare your own trust is virtually never a good idea. When you go the DIY route, your estate plan might end up not doing any of the things you wanted it to do. When you have an experienced trust attorney, you are afforded the following benefits:
- As your financial situation changes or life events occur (a new baby, a death, relocation to a new state, a divorce), changes may need to be made in your trust documents. Your trust attorney will know when to make necessary changes.
- Your trust attorney will ensure your trust documents comply with North Carolina law. Laws change fairly often, and your trust attorney will know when those changes occur—and how to respond to them.
- When you have a trust attorney looking out for your best interests, you can be confident that your documents say what you want them to say. Should you misinterpret or misunderstand your DIY online form, you will have wasted money and time on documents that fail to achieve your goals.
- A trust attorney ensures that all assets placed in your trust are properly titled with appropriate beneficiary designations.
- All your documents are professionally drafted and executed when you involve an experienced trust attorney from NC Planning. Your trust documents will be customized to meet your specific situation and goals.
- After your death or upon your incapacitation, your trust attorney will become a trusted resource for your loved ones.
What Are Common Issues Associated with Trusts?
It is important to note that a trust is not a “one-size-fits-all” type of document. There are different types of trusts; the one(s) you choose will depend on what you want your trust to accomplish. If you anticipate needing benefits from Medicaid for long-term care, you will want a different type of trust than if you are only concerned about providing for a special needs child. Other issues associated with trusts include:
- Failing to consider whether your spouse will be able to change the distribution of trust assets
- Ignoring the ability to protect your beneficiaries during a divorce or lawsuit
- Setting up a trust, but failing to fund the trust or update your beneficiary designations
- Not choosing the best trustee for your situation
When you have a trusted NC Planning trust attorney by your side, you can rest easy, knowing these mistakes will not be made.
What Are the Most Common Types of Trusts?
- Revocable Trust—A revocable living trust is the most common type of trust, made while the person making the trust is still alive.
- Special Needs and Supplemental Needs—This trust ensures your special needs child is able to continue to access government benefits while still receiving an inheritance.
- Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts—This type of trust can be a valuable planning strategy to meet Medicaid’s asset limit when you have excess assets. The Medicaid Protection trust protects your assets from being counted for eligibility purposes, enabling you to become eligible for Medicaid and receive the care required.
- Irrevocable Insurance Trusts—this type of trust cannot be rescinded, amended, or modified after its creation. Irrevocable life insurance trusts are constructed with a life insurance policy as the asset owned by the trust. ILITs offer legal and financial advantages to heirs, including asset protection and favorable tax treatment.
- Charitable Trusts are specifically set up to help manage charitable giving, distributing proceeds and assets to charity based on your instructions—during your lifetime and after your death.
- QPRT—A Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT) is an irrevocable trust that allows you to remove your home from your estate as a means of reducing incurred gift taxes when transferring assets to a beneficiary.
- SLAT—A Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT) is an irrevocable trust that allows one spouse to make a gift into a trust to benefit the other spouse while removing the assets from their combined estates.
How NC Planning Will Help You Plan for the Road Ahead
The Raleigh trust attorneys at NC planning want to help you with your trust and estate planning needs. We believe in honest communication with our clients—and client care is not just something we talk about. We go above and beyond to take care of our clients, providing trustworthy accountability for each and every client. When you choose NC Planning, you have chosen trust attorneys that will thoroughly evaluate your specific situation, ask you about your goals, then create a comprehensive plan that reflects those goals. With offices in Raleigh, NC, and Cary, NC, the NC Planning team is ready to help you plan for the road ahead. Contact NC Planning today.