Trusts are a rapidly growing area of the law and a qualified trust lawyer works with clients in areas regarding estate planning, managing a client's estate during life and disposing of a client's estate at death. The use of trusts, wills and other planning documents can be very useful. Trusts can help ensure that your assets are properly managed and held for the future use of your family members. Advance directives such as a power of attorney and health care proxy are also beneficial.
Assets held by a trust can be used to pay for medical or educational needs of the trust's designated beneficiaries. A trust lawyer can make trusts a component of your will or a separate legal entity. At times it may be advantageous to use trusts to avoid the probate process or to minimize estate and income taxes. A trust lawyer can help you decide what's best to do.
Some of the more common forms and uses of trusts are as follows:
(a) Estate and Will Planning - trusts can be utilized in many ways when planning an estate. A New York estate lawyer is familiar with provisions that can provide for the management of estate funds for your children until they reach an age where they are old enough to handle assets on their own. For example, a Last Will can have a provision that a child's inheritance be held in a trust until they reach age 24 or that the child receives a certain percentage of assets at different ages such as 21 and 24. Also, certain types of trusts can provide that assets are held in a manner that can minimize estate taxes. Assets can be set aside for a surviving spouse, if needed, and the unused portion can be transferred to a child upon the death of the surviving spouse without being included in the estate of the second spouse.
(b) Supplemental Needs Trust ("SNT") - these types of trusts are used where a beneficiary of the trust is or is likely to be receiving governmental benefits such as medicaid or social security benefits in the form of disability payments. The funds can be used for the beneficiary in the discretion of the trustee without risking the loss of the government payments. A SNT can provide extra monetary benefits over and above those provided by Medicaid and social security. A SNT can be established as a provision in a person's Last Will or as a separate trust created during life. Also, New York Guardianship Lawyers frequently ask the Guardianship Court to create a SNT for an incapacitated person to hold such person's assets while they continue to qualify for benefits. It is not uncommon for a person who has been injured to receive a personal injury settlement that is placed in a SNT and to have their Guardian appointed as the SNT trustee.
Regardless of the size of an estate, a trust can be an essential component of estate planning and asset protection. Estate and Guardianship Lawyers can assist with determining the type of plan and trust that is most appropriate.
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