To those who are unfamiliar with the process, estate planning can seem overwhelming and confusing. After all, just the thought of leaving your loved ones can be off-putting, and figuring out how to divide your assets can be stressful.
But we often find that a lot of the concerns that arise during the estate planning process are grounded in a lack of knowledge about available options. If you are able to learn about the estate planning vehicles at your disposal, you may find that your concerns will melt away, leaving you feeling as if a burden has been lifted from your shoulders.
Common trust options that are available to you
Although a will can be a key component of your estate plan, you may also want to utilize one or more trusts to retain some control over asset distribution and asset use. Here are some of the trust options that you can utilize in your estate plan to ensure that you are fully protecting your assets and your loved ones in a way that you see fit:
- Spendthrift trust: This type of trust is aimed at preventing the squandering of an inheritance. Here, a specified amount is periodically paid out to a named beneficiary, but the beneficiary does not have access to the assets that remain in the trust. This ensures the viability of the trust, and it also ensures that creditors cannot reach the assets that remain shielded in the trust.
- Incentive trust: With this estate planning vehicle, you are able to motivate a loved one to act in a certain way. Here, payments are made to a beneficiary, but the bulk of the trust’s assets will not be released until a triggering event occurs. You can be creative in identifying this triggering event, as it can be anything from getting married and having a child to holding a job for a specified period of time or completing substance abuse treatment.
- Special needs trust: This trust option allows you to provide for a loved one with medical needs without affecting their ability to qualify for Medicaid. This is because assets placed in this trust do not count as income for eligibility requirements. The uses to which assets can be put are pretty broad, too, which makes this an even more appealing option.
- Charitable trust: If you care about a particular charitable endeavor, you can further that interest by placing assets in a charitable trust to be used by an organization of your choosing.
- Remainder trust: This type of trust allows a named beneficiary to receive payments until a certain point, at which time the remainder of the trust’s assets will be released to someone else. This type of trust can be helpful in a blended family when you want to support your spouse and your children from a previous relationship.
Obtain the custom-tailored estate plan that you deserve
These are just some of the many options that you have at your disposal when it comes to selecting a trust. Remember, one of the great things about estate planning is that the process is customizable to suit your needs. Therefore, if you have a particular vision for the future of your estate and your loved ones, you should discuss that with your attorney.
By working closely with your attorney, you can feel confident that your estate plan is legally valid and geared toward bringing your vision of the future into reality. So, if you feel daunted by the process, don’t worry. Experienced legal professionals stand ready to help.