The options available for the use of trusts in Wheaton estate planning seem to increase daily. Trusts could be used to accomplish many goals, but it is worth taking the time to review your options and make the choices that are best suited for your needs.

A Wheaton trusts lawyer could help assess your needs and create a trust designed to fulfill your personal goals. A knowledgeable trusts and estates attorney could also assist with the administration of a trust or concerns regarding a breach of fiduciary duty or other issues.

Basic Information About Trusts

A trust is an entity formed out of a relationship. In most situations, a trust holds property which is contributed by the grantor who established the trust. The property is managed by the trustee for the ultimate benefit of the beneficiary.

In a traditional trust situation, the roles of grantor, trustee, and beneficiary are held by three separate people or entities. However, in some situations, people in Wheaton transfer their own assets into a trust, manage those assets as the trustee, and also have use of those assets as the beneficiary. In that case, one person holds all three positions.

Because a trust is a separate entity, the trust is required to file state and federal income tax returns and may be required to pay other taxes and fulfill other requirements depending on the situation. A Wheaton trusts lawyer could assist with any of these obligations.

Additionally, the trustee is bound by a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the trust and beneficiaries, so if the trustee takes actions that violate this duty, they may be held liable.

Trusts Could Help People Meet Many Needs

Trusts come in multiple varieties. Many trusts must be irrevocable in order to fulfill their intended purposes. When a trust is irrevocable, the grantor may not cancel it and receive the property back. Depending on the way the trust is structured, however, it may be possible for the grantor to amend some of the terms of an irrevocable trust. The trustee and beneficiaries usually have more freedom to make changes, liquidate assets in the trust, or take other actions.

Revocable trusts may be canceled at any time by the grantor. The popular living trusts are revocable trusts used to avoid the need for probate when the grantor passes away.

A Wheaton trusts lawyer could design a trust to:

  • Provide long-term care for a dependent with special needs
  • Reduce estate and gift tax liability
  • Avoid the expense and delay of probate
  • Reduce current income tax liability while providing charitable support
  • Protect the assets of spendthrift beneficiaries
  • Provide for educational and other needs for dependents

In some situations, a trust works best in combination with other estate planning tools such as wills, life insurance policies, and donor-advised funds.

Consult an Experienced Wheaton Trusts Attorney

Unlike a will, which could be created and ignored for many years, a trust is an entity that usually requires management. A knowledgeable attorney could assist with management duties or help a trustee develop a management plan to comply with legal requirements. A Wheaton trusts lawyer could also help if you feel a trust has been managed improperly or if you have been accused of wrongdoing in connection with the operation of a trust.

There are many resources available showing you how you could create your own trust without the need for a lawyer. While this may save a little money in the short term, it could result in tremendous legal problems or, at the very least, a trust which fails to fulfill the intended goals. To make the most of the current legal and tax benefits that trusts provide, consult a trusts attorney in Wheaton who could explain the best options to meet your needs.