Generally speaking, the most comprehensive estate plans are ones that account for every possible way to transfer property. For many people, the ideal option for their circumstances is to create a trust. These documents are a powerful estate planning option that allow you to place assets into the care of a trustee. This trustee then distributes the property to the people listed in the trust, otherwise known as beneficiaries, at the designated time.
Trusts are versatile and serve many purposes. They can be alternatives to wills that go into effect upon your death to avoid the complications of probate and lessen the estate’s tax burden. In other situations, they could make you eligible for government benefits or provide long-term care for people with special needs. A St. Charles County trusts lawyer could take the lead in exploring your estate planning desires and demonstrating how the creation of a trust may help to fulfill those goals. If you want dedicated, personalized guidance, a hardworking estate planning attorney could be the ally you need.
The Basics of Trusts
In the simplest terms, a trust transfers property from the control of one party to another. This transfer can occur all at once or across a few different meetings. Once the property in question enters into a trust, it no longer legally belongs to the original owner. Therefore, many people use trusts to reduce tax burdens or maintain their eligibility for government benefit plans like Medicaid.
There are few specific rules concerning the creation of a trust. State law says that a trust can fulfill almost any purpose, as long as the creator specifically intends to form the arrangement and nominates both a trustee and a beneficiary who are not the same person. Common examples of purposes that trusts serve include but are not limited to:
- Acting as an alternative to an end-of-life will
- Safeguarding charity funds that will later be donated to a non-profit
- Providing long-term income for children or adults with disabilities
- Funding a child’s future education
A knowledgeable attorney in St. Charles County could work with an executor or family to evaluate each party’s estate planning needs and determine whether a trust would help.
What is the Role of a Trustee?
One key player in the creation, oversight, and administration of trusts is a trustee. A trustee is the person responsible for the preservation and distribution of trust assets to the appointed beneficiaries, at the proper time. Trustees have significant powers under state law, they are also obligated to always act in the best interest of the beneficiaries or decedent.
For instance, Missouri Revised Statute § 456.8-801 establishes the concept that a trustee must administer the document in good faith and act in accordance with the terms listed in a trust. This means that while they have significant power, they must try their best to actively protect the value of the protected property.
More specifically, a trustee must act prudently and reasonably when administering the agreement. If they fail to fulfill these duties gracefully, they might face significant legal consequences. A diligent St. Charles County lawyer could provide more information about the role of a trustee and help all interested parties make sure that a trust stays safe.
Reach Out to a St. Charles County Trusts Attorney Today
Trusts are an effective and flexible way to transfer assets from one party to another. These arrangements are crucial because they often help people avoid the probate process. In addition, trusts can serve a variety of purposes that include caring for the long-term needs of another person or providing funds to a charity.
Thankfully, a St. Charles County trusts lawyer could help you evaluate your needs and craft documents that fulfill all the intended purposes. Additionally, an experienced representative could evaluate the actions of a trustee and make sure that your drafts comply with state law. Call the office now to get started on this next chapter of your estate planning journey.