Modern estate planning techniques offer individuals and families many options to pass on property. While creating a traditional Will is still an option, using a trust carries significant advantages. Using a trust to pass property at your death may help you eliminate estate taxes upon your death, protect your heirs from lawsuits, and allow you to leave specific instructions behind. Finally, transferring property at your death by using a trust can help simplify and shorten the probate process or avoid it all together.
A Lake St. Louis trusts lawyer could help you better understand the role that a trust can play in securing both you and your heirs’ future. Reach out to a dedicated estate planning attorney today to learn more.
Creating a Valid Trust
A Trust functions by taking legal control over the property that is funded into it. By creating a trust, an individual can place instructions and protections over the property in question. This property can then be left to beneficiaries in whatever way is desired, either immediately, at a specific time in the future, or upon the Trust maker’s death.
Creating a trust can be fairly straightforward. According to Missouri Statute § 456.4-402, any adult can author a trust if they have the capacity to do so. Additionally, a trust must:
- Name a definite beneficiary
- Create a duty for a trustee
- Establish that a sole beneficiary and a sole trustee are not the same person
Beyond this, the law does not establish many regulations on the legality and the potential reasons for creating a trust. The only exception to this rule is the fact that a trust cannot fulfill an otherwise illegal purpose. An experienced trusts attorney in Lake St. Louis could help explain the legal processes behind forming a trust.
Why Forming a Trust May be a Good Idea
Trusts offer greater flexibility and convenience in the world of estate planning when compared to a will. While a will only carries legal effect once a testator dies, a trust can disperse property, assets, or cash at any time. As long as the trust documentation specifically notes this time, the trustee must move the assets when the time arrives.
Another potential benefit is tax planning. By using a Trust to leave behind instructions on the way property is to be treated, many tax advantaged plans can be used. The trust can be used to plan for estate taxes, income taxes, and capital gains taxes. All while still leaving non-tax related instructions behind as well if necessary.
Finally, using a trust to transfer property can help parties to avoid a lengthy or contentious probate process. Probate is a necessary procedure that occurs whenever a person dies; it involves a court interpreting the contents of a will and dealing with the rights of heirs to an estate. Thankfully, a trust that distributes property after a trust maker’s death never goes through probate. As a result, a trust can serve as a substitute for many of the provisions that traditionally flow through a will.
Let a Lake St. Louis Trusts Attorney Secure Your Present and Future
People create trusts for many reasons, such as providing funds to a charity, avoiding probate after death, transferring assets without worrying about taxation, or gifting assets to minor children.
Forming a trust is fairly simple. As long as a person has the capacity and intent to create a trust and the trust meets some standard rules for formation, a court will rarely interfere. At the same time, trusts are highly flexible and can serve a wide range of functions.
Reach out to a Lake St. Louis trusts lawyer today. An attorney will provide more information about the legal concept of a trust, work to identify your specific goals, and craft documents that aim to meet your planning aspirations.