An alternative to traditional testaments and estate planning methods, family trusts allow individuals to control, protect, and manage their assets both presently and in the future. Ideal for those with assets of substantial value, family trusts can help minimize or eliminate concerns such as access delays, wasteful spending, unintended possession of ownership, and other concerns by allowing for highly specific protections and plans.
Manage Wealth Privately
When a person chooses to pass assets to loved ones after their death through a will, a state court process called probate is required prior to finalizing the estate. Probate is a public legal process, so anyone who wishes can obtain access to the details of the proceedings. Additionally, probate often becomes complex, incurring unforeseen costs and lengthy delays. Family trusts keep all processes private, and there is no probate involved.
Transfer Estate Property
A little-known benefit of family trusts is that an attorney can help you transfer family property into the trust, which therefore becomes an asset instead of personal property. Because trust assets are explicitly delegated to a beneficiary through the trustor (the person who establishes the trust), trustees can avoid unclear intentions and prevent unnecessary disputes over estates.
Prevent Relationship Property Claims
If a family member who is bequeathed an asset is married or in a civil union at the time the asset is received, that property then becomes the property of both parties. In the event of a split or divorce, both parties are then entitled to half the asset’s value. Another perk of transferring property to trusts is that the trustee can gift an asset specifically to one family member and not their partner or spouse, thus protecting the assets from such property relationship claims.
Protect Substantial Assets
Ideal for those with high-value assets or who have careers in fields that are subject to frequent litigation, an irrevocable trust is a safe, responsible way to preserve funds for future generations. As its name suggests, an irrevocable trust cannot be amended, so once the assets are placed in it, it cannot be touched by the trustor, trustee, or beneficiary until the trustor’s death or an agreed-upon date. The benefit of this type of family trust is that, because the assets are permanently removed from the trustor’s possession, they are no longer considered their property and cannot be accessed by creditors or courts. Irrevocable trusts are tax-free up to $11.18 million.
At The Law Office of Arthur P. Skarmeas, LLC, our qualified attorneys have extensive experience in creating family trusts that provide our clients with financial control and peace of mind. Contact our Topsfield, MA office today at (978) 887-0093 for more information or to schedule your free consultation.