TRUSTS TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUR LOVED ONES AND THEIR ASSETS ARE PROTECTED
Sometimes it's advisable to allow a family member or other loved one to benefit from a gift or bequest, without giving them full control over those assets.
That's where trusts come in. We set up many kinds of trusts for our clients (either separately or inside a client's will) to give them the peace of mind of knowing that all of the beneficiary's needs will be met, but with a person or institution of their choice managing the assets and controlling the purse strings.
TYPES OF TRUSTS WE CAN DESIGN FOR YOUR
SPECIFIC NEEDS INCLUDE:
TRUSTS FOR CHILDREN OR GRANDCHILDREN
Almost every parent wants to make sure that if they should die unexpectedly without a surviving spouse, their assets will be used properly for their children's or grandchildren's educational, health and living needs.
Yet leaving large sums of money directly to children or grandchildren (whether they're below the age of 18, or even substantially older) can cause big problems. These problems may include:
- Money being spent for purposes other than what you intended
- Assets being placed into bad investments or with unreliable or untrustworthy "advisors"
- Heirs who are legally "adults" at age 18 running through their inheritance quickly until it's gone forever
- Surviving family members fighting over who should control the children's money
THAT'S WHERE WE COME IN. We have over 30 years of experience at setting up trusts, both in wills and by themselves, that will make sure your loved one's inheritance will be protected, used properly, and invested wisely (and that no beneficiary gets full control of their inheritance before they reach an age or milestone that you deem advisable).
- "SPECIAL NEEDS" TRUSTS FOR DISABLED & MENTALLY-CHALLENGED BENEFICIARIES.
For some heirs, receiving a gift or bequest outright can result in the loss of critical medical, educational or other benefits. Benefits especially affected by this can include Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid (Medical Assistance) health coverage.
Fortunately, this situation can often be avoided, by having us set up a "Special Needs Trust," either to go along with your will, or as part of a gifting plan during your lifetime. A properly-drafted Special Needs Trust is a totally legal way to provide funds for a loved one's needs and enjoyment, without affecting their special status or eligibility for benefits.
TRUSTS TO PROTECT THE ASSETS OF HEIRS WITH SERIOUS ALCOHOL, DRUG, MENTAL OR BEHAVIORAL HEALTH ISSUES.
Many families have family members with drug, alcohol, or serious mental health issues, or other behavioral issues that make leaving (or gifting) assets directly to them a recipe for trouble. Often, that trouble is manifested by those assets being dissipated quickly or improperly, leaving the beneficiary without resources to cover their legitimate needs into the future.
For these clients, we are able to create trusts tailor-made to make sure that these beneficiaries get the benefits of the assets you wish to set aside for them, but without the ability to go through the money quickly or improperly. YOU get to pick the trustee who will both manage the assets and make decisions on which expenditures are reasonable and which ones aren't.
TRUSTS THAT PROTECT CHILDREN FROM A PRIOR MARRIAGE OR RELATIONSHIP, WHILE STILL PROVIDING FOR YOUR NEW SPOUSE'S LIFETIME NEEDS.
Few people know it, but writing a "normal" will for an individual who has children from a prior marriage or relationship can result in those children's inheritance being completely cut off if you (their parent) die first.
This can occur intentionally OR unintentionally, such as when a surviving spouse remarries and either (a) changes their will or (b) places the assets you left to them into joint ownership with another person, such as their new spouse or one of their new spouse's children. It can also happen if someone with Power of Attorney for your surviving spouse re-titles, or gives away, assets that you left to the spouse outright.
Fortunately, we can help. By creating a special kind of trust in your will (or living trust), we can help provide for your surviving spouse's reasonable lifetime living needs, while still protecting your remaining assets for your children (or whoever else you designate) upon the spouse's death.
REVOCABLE LIVING TRUSTS.
While not of benefit to everyone in Pennsylvania, there are some circumstances under which clients can benefit by having a "Revocable Living Trust" set up for them. This kind of trust allows you to dictate how your assets are to be managed during your (and your spouse's) lifetime, and how they will be distributed upon death.
Situations in which Revocable Living Trusts may be advantageous include:
- Ownership of real estate in one or more "high probate fee" states (such as Florida or Delaware).
- The desire to have assets managed by a bank or trust company as trustee for yourself (if you should become unable to manage your assets) or your surviving spouse.
Note: A word Revocable Living Trusts:
1. There are NO TAX SAVINGS WHATSOEVER in Pennsylvania from having a Revocable Living Trust. The same Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax is levied whether a person dies with a will only or with a Revocable Living Trust.
For years, there have been people out there "selling" revocable living trusts, often by making false or misleading statements about what they can accomplish. Often these sales pitches take the form of free "seminars," lunches or dinners, mailings to seniors, etc.
HERE ARE THE FACTS:
2. Under current Pennsylvania law, there is still legal work required to properly administer an estate with a Revocable Living Trust. The promise of "avoiding probate" doesn't mean that nothing has to be done upon the death of a person who had a Revocable Living Trust.
3. The promise of "privacy" with a revocable living trust is of limited value. All beneficiaries of the trust get to see the trust document upon the death of the trust-holder.
4. A few attorneys have been DISBARRED (prohibited permanently from practicing law) by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court for allowing non-lawyer salespersons to "sell" living trusts with the attorneys' names on them, and making promises and statements of "fact" that were not true.
After meeting with you and hearing what your specific goals and objectives are, we can advise you on whether having us set up a Revocable Living Trust is the best option for you (and is worth the additional cost).
FOR MORE INFORMATION, OR TO SCHEDULE A CONSULTATION, CALL US AT