The first step when deciding whether to set up a trust should be to speak with a qualified estate planning lawyer. The estate planning attorneys at Posternock Apell, PC have decades of combined experience assisting New Jersey and Pennsylvania clients with their estate plans. We can examine your particular financial and personal situation, discuss your objectives for establishing a trust and help you determine how to best protect your assets and provide for your family and, in some cases, causes or organizations you care about.
Setting up a trust is a good way to make sure that your money and property are transferred in accordance with your wishes. A trust will also ensure that your loved ones and family members do not have to deal with the headaches that often accompany probate, such as inheritance disputes, will disputes, and legal actions to contest the will.
Trusts are an important part of estate planning.
Creating a trust makes sense for many individuals who seek to better manage their assets and minimize the impact of estate taxes upon death. Trusts make sense for many people, including those with real estate or business assets, single people and blended families, among others. A trust allows you to decide how to distribute your assets, which may include a home or other real estate, car, personal property, checking account, savings account, retirement accounts, business assets, stock options and life insurance.
A trust can help you minimize estate taxes upon your passing. Trusts are a smart way to minimize state and federal estate taxes that can drain your assets and leave your loved ones with less money and property. These taxes can include the NJ estate tax, NJ inheritance tax, NJ state income taxes and federal income taxes. A trust can also provide you with peace of mind now because you will know that your assets are going to be protected after your death.
Who is involved in a trust?
A trust will typically involve three named parties:
- A trust-maker, who creates the trust
- A trustee, who manages the trust
- Trust beneficiaries, who receive assets from the trust
Common types of trusts that help protect your assets:
- Living trusts: A revocable living trust allows you to manage the trust assets and funds while you are still alive and make changes as you see fit. Upon your passing, your property will be transferred as if the trust was a will. The advantage of a living trust is that the beneficiaries are able to avoid probate. It does not avoid or minimize taxes.
- Marital trusts: You can provide for your spouse, ensure that your children receive an inheritance and avoid probate while deferring state and federal estate taxes. They might be used for larger estates and in cases where there are children from previous marriages.
- Bypass trusts: This is also known as a “credit shelter trust” or a “family trust.” A bypass trust allows a married person to provide for their spouse for the duration of the spouse’s life while managing and minimizing estate taxes for the beneficiary generations, often children or grandchildren. The trust is aptly named because when your spouse passes away, the assets in the trust will then “bypass” your spouse’s taxable estate and pass on to the named beneficiaries of the trust.
- Dynasty trusts: This trust allows you to leave money and assets to your family over the course of many generations. Depending on the circumstances and amounts involved, a dynasty trust can potentially last forever.
- Age Restriction trusts: These trusts are often established so that a young child receives money at predetermined times. The upside of an age restriction trust is that a young person is not overwhelmed, or potentially led astray, by having access to too much money at too early an age.
- Special Needs trusts: A special needs trust ensures that a person who is physically disabled or mentally disabled will be provided for in the future. It is important to structure a special needs trust in such a way that the beneficiary will not lose any government benefits that they might already be receiving.
Although there are a number of different trusts that you can establish, most trusts are combined into a single document.
Posternock Apell, PC’s estate and trust attorneys can help you create a trust and estate plan in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
An experienced estate planning attorney can help you plan for the future by designing the trust to meet your specific needs. An attorney can make sure that your estate plan, whether it includes a trust, a will or any other legal document, is tailored to provide for your loved ones and minimize the impact of estate taxes that often feel oppressive and unfair.
The skilled legal team at Posternock Apell, PC can assist you with your estate planning process, whether you have an estate that involves complex issues or more straightforward needs. We will also work with you to review your estate, draft the necessary legal documents and file the required paperwork.
If you are thinking about how to make sure that your loved ones are provided for after you pass away, the experienced estate planning lawyers at Posternock Apell, PC can assist you. Call us anytime to discuss your situation or arrange a free phone consultation with one of our offices in Browns Mills or Moorestown, New Jersey or Philadelphia, PA.