Living Trust Attorney Services
Many clients ask, "What is the difference between a will and a trust?" When created by a knowledgeable elder law attorney, both can distribute assets as directed after death.
However, unlike a will, a trust avoids the need to probate the estate. For years, the team at Lancaster Law Firm has provided clients with sound advice and peace of mind when creating trusts to manage and distribute their property. Our team strategically constructs each document to assist and benefit the living while preparing for the inevitable unknown.
Trusts vs. Wills
- Trusts are not subject to probate, therefore simplifying the process of settling the estate for loved ones.
- Wills become public record when they pass through probate court while trusts remain private affairs.
- Trusts require less time and cost for loved ones later.
- Trusts can include instructions for the management of financial affairs in the event of incapacity.
Types of Trusts
There are several different types of trusts available for use in estate planning. The kind of trust that is appropriate for each individual largely depends on the goals and intentions of each unique situation.
The most valuable and common types of trusts are:
- Revocable trusts: A revocable trust (also called a living trust) is the most flexible type of trust. A revocable trust may be modified or terminated at any time during your life-time as long as you are not incapacitated. However, revocable trusts do not shield assets from creditors.
- Irrevocable trusts: An irrevocable trust may provide estate and tax benefits by removing the trust's assets from your taxable estate. Unlike a revocable trust, an irrevocable trust shield may also shield assets from creditors. However, after an irrevocable trust is established, you no longer have the opportunity to change the terms of the trust at a later date.
- Charitable trusts: A charitable trust can offer income tax savings if you are philanthropically minded, as benefit your favorite charity. A charitable trust helps reduce taxes on the property donated to charity.
- Marital trusts: A marital trust may be used to pass assets and property to a surviving spouse and ensure that the trust assets pass to another party, such as children or grandchildren, upon the surviving spouse's death. A qualified terminable interest property (QTIP) trust is one type of marital trust that allows an individual to leave assets to the surviving spouse and determine how the trust's assets are divided.
- Special needs trusts: A special needs trust allows a physically or mentally disabled or chronically ill person to receive income without losing or reducing government disability benefits. Assets placed in a special needs trust can be used to supplement government benefits provided by Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or Supplemental Security Income.
Request Your Consultation Today
Contact Lancaster Law Firm today to learn more about wills and trusts and decide which is best for your estate planning needs.