An estate plan is an assortment of documents and instructions that details how you want your assets to be distributed after your death. If you are fortunate enough to have financial assets, it’s a good idea to put them somewhere where they can be better protected from creditors, unfaithful partners, or other potential threats. A trust may sound like a very complicated thing, but in reality, it’s not that difficult to understand. It’s simply a legal entity that holds assets for the benefit of another person. Trusts are commonly used as part of an estate plan because of their many advantages.
Protection From Creditors
Assets that you keep in your own name are vulnerable to judgments obtained by people to whom you owe money. Your creditors can take these assets any time they want and apply them to debts that you owe to them. Your creditors can also take your assets after you die, but only after the probate process is complete. Setting up a trust is one way to protect your assets from creditors. The trustee can decide when to distribute the assets to your beneficiaries. Creditors generally can’t force the trustee to give them assets from the trust, so it should be easier to preserve the assets for your beneficiaries.
The trustee can distribute parts of your trust assets to the beneficiaries at different times and for different reasons, such as if one of your children goes to college. This can help you better manage your tax liability and ensure that you get the most out of your estate. Even if you don’t have a large estate, you can still benefit from the tax advantages of a trust. Many trusts have an “in trust for” (ITF) designation. This is a clause that specifies that the trust assets are for the benefit of someone else. If your trust has an ITF designation and is irrevocable, it isn’t counted in your taxable estate. This means you can use trusts to reduce your estate taxes even if you don’t have a significant amount of assets. Trusts can also let you transfer money to your heirs tax-free.
Trusts let you assign someone to oversee the management of your assets after you die. This can help you ensure that your assets are being used for their intended purposes. In the event of a personal injury settlement, for example, a settlement protection trust can help your beneficiaries get by while also restricting how much they can spend at once. You can also prohibit your beneficiaries from selling off the assets and you can determine exactly where a portion of the money should go (such as a college fund).
In any situation, it’s important to plan ahead. Trust administration is worth considering if you want to ensure that your assets go to the people that you want them to go to after you die. As long as you think hard about how you want your assets to be handled, there’s a lot a trust can do for you and your loved ones.