Creating an Estate Plan With a Trust

While most people know they need a will to distribute their assets after death, far fewer understand the necessity and advantages of a trust. Trusts can be helpful tools in managing complex estates and situations where the person establishing one has particular wishes for their assets after death. 

At Crow Estate Planning & Probate, our living trust attorneys aim to help our clients establish the trust they need to secure their assets, protect them, and ensure they’re distributed as planned following the grantor’s death.

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What Is a Trust?

In general, a trust is a type of estate plan to manage assets. However, there are many different types of trusts for various types of uses, such as special protections for minor children, loved ones with special needs, or tax planning.

There are a few terms that everyone should understand when discussing trusts:

  • The grantor/settlor: This individual is the person who creates the trust. The grantor initially funds the trust and sets forth the terms as to how the assets will be used and managed.
  • The beneficiary: The beneficiary is the person benefitting from the trust — the person who receives and enjoys the assets during the term of the trust or after the grantor’s death.
  • The trustee: A trustee is tasked with managing the trust in the interim between its creation and the distribution of trust assets to beneficiaries after death. Depending on the type of trust, the grantor may also be the trustee.

The trust creation process is more involved than that of a will and, therefore, takes longer to establish and can be more expensive upfront. If you’re unsure whether you need a trust or will, our living trust attorneys can help you decide. 

The Advantages of Trusts

Regardless of the type of trust you establish, you can expect some of the same benefits. With a trust, you can:

  • Avoid probate: Anything you put into a trust can avoid the probate process, which is especially helpful for grantors with property in multiple states.
  • Streamline asset distribution: Because a trust can bypass the probate process, your loved ones can avoid waiting on the court to distribute assets and avoid any added legal fees.
  • Maintain privacy: Probate is a public court case, but with a trust, your assets will be distributed privately and free from any court interference.
  • Plan for incapacity: Because trusts have successor trustees within the estate plan, this individual can step in and immediately manage the assets, in the event of incapacity.
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Types of Trusts

Every trust case is different, and to reflect that, there are a number of trust types you can establish. Some of the most common ones we work with are:

This is the most common type of trust. The grantor creates it to plan for their assets and ensure everything is taken care of if they’re incapacitated.

Once this type of trust is created, they cannot be adjusted or changed, even by the people who created them.

This type of trust allows beneficiaries to continue to receive government benefits, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Trusts for children can help avoid guardianship cases and allow for a child to claim inheritance when they turn 18.  

Designed to offer financial protection during major life changes, such as bankruptcy or divorce. Once in place, it shields the beneficiary from many forms of credit collection and lawsuits.

Gun trusts safeguard an individual’s Second Amendment privileges by providing a secure method to store firearms, preventing seizure or repossession.

CPTs enable married couples to consolidate jointly-owned assets in a trust, preserving equal ownership rights while utilizing the trust’s benefits.

For residents of Tennessee, TISTs provide a legal avenue to protect assets from creditors and evade certain state taxes.

This trust allows an individual to benefit their spouse and descendants separately from the grantor’s estate, offering tax advantages and potential enhancements to the value for beneficiaries.

Establishes and acts as the owner of one or more life insurance policies while the beneficiary is alive. An ILIT cannot be changed once it is established, but it can help beneficiaries avoid certain taxes once inherited.

A strategic trust format aimed at reducing estate taxes by allowing the grantor to retain asset benefits while officially removing them from the estate’s taxable value.

Connect With a Living Trust Attorney to Get Started

You’ve spent your entire life creating a legacy — now it’s our job to make sure it’s protected. Speak with one of Crow Estate Planning & Probate’s trust lawyers today when you schedule a free consultation for our trust management services.

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