Do I Need to Manage My Assets Even if I Have a Simple Estate?
Many people may think that if they have a simple or small estate, they won’t benefit or require asset management. This belief is almost always incorrect. Even those with simple or small estates can utilize powerful planning tools such as a trust to help them manage their assets.
On the contrary, if you have a complex or large estate, estate planning, such as creating a trust (or multiple), is imperative in protecting and managing your assets for you and your beneficiaries.
By utilizing estate planning tools, one can ensure that they are protecting and preserving their assets now and for the future benefit of loved ones. Minimizing taxes is another powerful benefit of working with an estate planning attorney and using the tools available.
Another essential benefit of trusts is allowing beneficiaries to avoid the probate process in many cases. If a will is in place, this is a great start, but your loved ones will still need to endure the probate process, which can be costly and can take months or years to complete.
What is a Trust?
A trust is a legal entity that allows a third party (a trustee) to hold assets on behalf of beneficiaries. A trustee is tasked with managing the assets in the trust to ensure wealth preservation and effective distribution of assets to beneficiaries, among other things.
Revocable and Irrevocable trusts are commonly used, and your estate planning attorney can help you determine which tools best suit your needs.
A revocable trust can be altered as necessary. This option is great for those planning early and wanting the flexibility to make essential changes as different chapters of their lives occur. As we grow older, our priorities or goals may shift. A revocable trust allows the creator (grantor) to revoke, amend, or otherwise alter the trust as their needs change.
An irrevocable trust can not be altered, barring very rare instances. An irrevocable trust is a permanent arrangement that requires the creator to relinquish control of their assets and remove them from their estate.
What is a Missouri Asset Protection Trust?
A unique trust that is appealing to many is the Missouri Asset Protection Trust. This type of trust is an irrevocable trust with the purpose of protecting the trust fund assets and keeping them secure for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Assets within the trust are held and invested by the trustee and are distributed on a discretionary basis, as stipulated by the grantor.
There are several types of Asset Protection Trusts that you may find appealing. Work with your experienced estate planning attorney to determine which is best for your needs.
Types of Asset Protection Trusts
Disabled beneficiaries can benefit from a special needs trust by allowing them to continue to receive government benefits or supplements. In many cases, without a special needs trust, if the beneficiary receives an inheritance, this can disqualify them from utilizing government benefits, and they would have to reapply at a later date or spend down their assets before continuing to receive support.
If you have minors who are beneficiaries, creating a trust for them is essential, as they can’t legally accept an inheritance until they are 18. Funds will be safely held in the trust until they can receive them.
Other Trusts To Consider
Protecting surviving spouses is another benefit of a trust, and a discretionary trust may be an excellent option. Some spouses are not as financially adept, and creating a trust can ensure that they manage their inheritance well. Situations such as the spouse remarrying or needing nursing home care can also be addressed with a lifetime discretionary trust.
Finally, if a beneficiary may be in a lawsuit-prone profession, such as a doctor, you may consider a lifetime discretionary trust. This type of trust can also provide protection for those who aren’t good at managing their money or may have an addiction problem and, therefore, need extra protection for their distributions. Another aspect to consider is whether the beneficiary’s spouse will take more than the intended share of the inheritance. Setting up an effective lifetime discretionary trust can help set necessary boundaries.
Estate Planning Attorneys; An Invaluable Asset to You and Your Loved Ones
Our team offers a personalized approach with frequent communication to help our clients navigate estate planning and other important matters. We pride ourselves on not only working for our clients but working with them to ensure their needs are met, and they can protect their assets so their loved ones can benefit from them as they intended.
We understand and respect that you have worked hard to create a legacy for yourself and those you love. Protecting it with an effective estate plan is one of the most loving things you can do for your family. It allows you to remain in the driver’s seat and plan how your assets can benefit those left behind for years to come.
No two estates will be the same. There is a wide array of estate planning tools that you can utilize to customize your future and the future of those you love. Let us help you create an effective plan that addresses your priorities and future needs so you can rest easy knowing that you have a plan in place for your loved ones.
Call our office today at (314) 347-3567 to speak with our team and benefit from a free initial consultation.
We look forward to serving you.