Do you have an estate plan already in place, or are you one of the roughly fifty-five percent of American adults who have never even gotten around to creating a basic Last Will and Testament? For many of us, that’s an uncomfortable question to consider, since conversations about things like wills, trust, estates, and inheritances just remind us of our own mortality. The fact is, though, that these are issues that we all eventually need to address – because if there is any one thing in life that we can truly say that we have in common with everyone else on the planet, it is that we will all eventually die.
Obviously, there is nothing that says that you can’t just choose to ignore estate planning altogether, and just leave these issues for your loved ones to sort out when you pass away. Given that statistic mentioned at the beginning of this post, it’s clear that a large percentage of Americans seem comfortable with that option. However, that option does nothing to help your family or other loved ones, and could ultimately end up causing them financial and emotional pain beyond the grief they will already experience as a result of your death. You can help them avoid that hardship by making the most of your estate planning with an Indianapolis trusts attorney.
Why a Trust Attorney?
Naturally, you might find yourself wondering why you need any attorney, much less a trust attorney. After all, there are all those free options out there where you can just fill in a simple form and create a will, trust, power of attorney, or any other estate planning document you need. Surely, those are all good enough – right? Sadly, no. For a variety of reasons, any of those options can leave you in worse shape than if you’d avoided estate planning altogether. To get your plan created the right way, you need a professional estate planning lawyer.
Having an attorney who is proficient in the use of trusts is essential too. Contrary to what many people still believe, trusts are not just tools for the ultra-wealthy any more. Today, trusts are used by average individuals and families to achieve a wide variety of estate planning and financial goals. When you have assets to protect, special care needs for disabled loved ones that must be met, or any other unique planning goal that cannot be accomplished with just a Last Will and Testament, a trust can often prove to be your best option.
What Can a Trust Do for You?
Trusts are rapidly becoming a go-to planning option for people across the United States. This has occurred as a result of how trusts have evolved in recent decades to reflect the needs of everyday individuals and families. Gone are the days when you only needed a trust if you had a bazillion dollars you wanted to leave to your heirs. Today, trusts can accomplish such a wide variety of specific goals that just about anyone can benefit from their use. Here are just a few examples of their uses:
- Trusts can help your heirs receive their inheritances without the delays that are often caused when estates have to go through the probate process. Since the terms of asset distribution are all outlined in the trust, there is no need for a probate court to supervise that distribution. The end result? Assets can be delivered to beneficiaries much more rapidly than the probate process typically allows.
- Trusts can help you to manage tax obligations in a way that provides maximum benefits to both you and your heirs.
- Trusts can be used as part of any effective long-term care plan, and are among the many tools available to those who need to plan for Medicaid eligibility in the future.
- Trusts can help you care for your minor children when you’re gone, provide ongoing income to a disabled loved one, or even ensure that your beloved pets are provided for after your death.
- Trusts can help you ensure that an heir doesn’t waste his inheritance by squandering a large lump sum of money. You can write terms that provide for structured distributions of money over time to help protect that heir from his own poor decision-making.
- Trusts can be used to protect an heir’s inheritance from future creditors.
- Trusts can be used to put certain conditions on an inheritance. For example, you can provide an heir with an inheritance that can only be used for educational purposes – or qualify an inheritance so that it is only released after an heir graduates or meets some other important life milestone.
Obviously, there is a tremendous amount of flexibility in the use of trusts as part of any sound estate planning strategy. That flexibility is even greater when you consider that you can choose from living revocable trusts and irrevocable trusts too. The former can enable you to maintain control over your assets during your living years, while the latter provides greater tax advantages and helps to provide better protection for your assets when it comes to things like Medicaid planning.
A competent trust attorney will be able to help you decide what types of trusts would best meet your needs. He or she can also help you to properly fund your trust when it is created, and provide important guidance to ensure that it remains viable and beneficial as the years go by. Most importantly, that trust attorney can help to develop the comprehensive array of estate planning tools you’ll need to ensure that you’ve covered all of your planning bases.
At Frank & Kraft, Attorneys at Law, we know how important it is that your estate plan is created in a way that ensures that all of your important planning goals are met. We can work with you to determine your needs and choose the right trusts options to make the most of your estate planning efforts. To learn how we can help you with your trust needs, call us today at (317) 684-1100 or visit us at our website.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.