Trusts

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Call on Mark D. Stern for assistance with setting up trusts. A trust can be created during a person’s lifetime and survive the person’s death. A trust can also be created by a will and formed after death. Once assets are put into the trust, they belong to the trust itself, not the trustee, and remain subject to the rules and instructions of the trust contract.

A trust is a right in property, which is held in a fiduciary relationship by one party for the benefit of another. The trustee is the one who holds title to the trust property, and the beneficiary is the person who receives the benefits of the trust. While there are different types of trusts, the basic types are revocable and irrevocable.

Types of Trusts

Revocable Trusts

Revocable trusts are created during the lifetime of the trustmaker and can be altered, changed, modified or revoked entirely. Often called a living trust, these are trusts in which the trustmaker transfers the title of a property to a trust, serves as the initial trustee, and can remove the property from the trust during his or her lifetime. Revocable trusts are extremely helpful in avoiding probate. If ownership of assets is transferred to a revocable trust during the lifetime of the trustmaker so that it is owned by the trust at the time of the trustmaker’s death, the assets will not be subject to probate.

Although useful to avoid probate, a revocable trust is not an asset protection technique as assets transferred to the trust during the trustmaker’s lifetime will remain available to the trustmaker’s creditors. It does make it more somewhat more difficult for creditors to access these assets since the creditor must petition a court for an order to enable the creditor to get to the assets held in the trust. Typically, a revocable trust evolves into an irrevocable trust upon the death of the trustmaker.

Irrevocable Trust

An irrevocable trust is one which cannot be altered, changed, modified or revoked after its creation. Once a property is transferred to an irrevocable trust, no one, including the trustmaker, can take the property out of the trust. It is possible to purchase survivorship life insurance, the benefits of which can be held by an irrevocable trust. This type of survivorship life insurance can be used for estate tax planning purposes in large estates. However, survivorship life insurance held in an irrevocable trust can have serious negative consequences.

Mark D. Stern has extensive experience in Trusts and all matter of Estate Law. Contact our firm to see how we can put our knowledge and expertise to work for you. Call us at 845-294-7990 or to contact us via email, click here.