Many people hear the word trust, and they think it doesn’t pertain to them because it seems like something that only the wealthy need to concern themselves with. Trusts, however, have many important uses that many people find useful. In the simplest terms, a trust is a transfer of legal title to something of value from the owner to a trustee – who administers the funds in accordance with the terms of the trust for the identified beneficiaries. Trusts can serve multiple important purposes, and an experienced trust attorney in Hampton Roads will help ensure that your trust meets your needs.
Trusts are categorized as either living trusts or testamentary trusts. As the name implies, testamentary trusts transfer assets into the trust after one’s death. Living trusts, on the other hand, are implemented during the grantor’s lifetime. Testamentary trusts are commonly specified in one’s will – and are not automatically executed upon death. An example of when a testamentary trust might be beneficial is when a parent specifies the transfer of assets to a trustee in his or her will – and the trustee manages these assets on behalf of the children until they reach the age designated by the parent (at which time the children take control of the assets). As such, testamentary trusts do not bypass probate.
Living trusts are implemented during the grantor’s lifetime, but they can continue after the grantor’s death, and in this way, those assets that are addressed in the living trust can avoid probate. Living trusts can be either revocable or irrevocable. If revocable, the grantor is free to change or even revoke the terms therein at any time after its commencement. If the trust is irrevocable, on the other hand, the grantor gives up the right to make changes after the trust is executed. Often, a revocable living trust augments the grantor’s will and names someone who will manage his or her affairs in the event that he or she is no longer able to do so. Generally, revocable wills specify their irrevocability upon the grantor’s death. Though complicated, trusts can help greatly reduce the cost, ambiguity, and time expenditure of probate.
A trust can provide you with all of the following advantages:
At Mahoney & Richmond, PLLC, in Hampton Roads, our dedicated trust attorneys have the experience, knowledge, and legal insight to help you better understand your estate planning options and to execute a trust that effectively supports your goals. To learn more about how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.