Atlanta Living Trust Lawyers Helping Families With Trust Set Up and Management
Whether you are just starting a family or are ready to retire, planning for what happens to your assets when you pass away is an important step at any stage of your life. When it comes to choosing the right estate planning tool and trying to understand all your options, the help of a seasoned Estate Planning Attorney in Atlanta may make it easier and less overwhelming to pick the choice that is right for you and your family’s specific situation. Many clients ask us about living trusts and want to know if a trust is a good idea for them. While no two situations are exactly the same, here are some key aspects you need to know about trusts to help you determine what to do next.
What is a Trust and How is it Used in Estate Planning?
In simple terms, a trust is a separate legal entity that works as a container for the assets you place in it. You (the trustor) can place assets in a trust, such as money or real estate, and then assign a beneficiary that will receive them after you die. You can add rules, stipulations, and details about who should receive your assets and when.
A trust gives you greater control over how your assets will be distributed, and when done right, can also result in tax savings. A trust is also a way to keep your estate out of the probate court, allowing beneficiaries to receive their inheritance in less time and keeping the whole process private, unlike what happens with a will. Trusts are recommended for clients who are looking to simplify the estate asset distribution process, minimize costs and waiting time associated with probate, and control how beneficiaries receive and use the assets.
What is a Revocable Living Trust?
A revocable living trust is a popular choice for those looking to get the benefits of a trust without completely giving up ownership of their assets. You can set up a revocable trust and fund it as you wish during your lifetime. You are also free to change it, modify it, or revoke it anytime. When you die, your revocable trust becomes an irrevocable trust and can no longer be changed.
There are several reasons why someone may choose to set up a revocable living trust. The creation of a trust is a safe way to ensure your properties will still be available to be used for your benefit in case of mental or physical disability. You may also want to use a trust as a way to ensure your assets will not be spent frivolously by a difficult child or be lost in a divorce. Avoiding probate and keeping the asset distribution simple for your surviving loved ones are additional benefits you can get from a revocable trust.
What is an Irrevocable Living Trust?
Another possibility is setting up an irrevocable living trust. As the name says, an irrevocable living trust cannot be modified or revoked once created. Any changes to it are not easily executed, since any and all changes must be approved by beneficiaries. Placing assets into an irrevocable trust means removing them from your taxable estate, since you are technically giving up ownership of those assets.
Besides the advantages offered by a revocable living trust, such as probate avoidance and greater control over asset distribution, irrevocable living trusts have a higher level of protection against any creditors that may come forward to collect debts against your estate. An irrevocable trust is taxed as a legally independent entity. This means it also gives you substantial tax advantages, enabling you to reduce or eliminate your estate tax liability and give you other tax savings.
How Do I Know Which Type of Trust is Right for Me?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to estate planning. Selecting the right type of tools is an important step that should be done with the help of a living trust attorney. Trusts may not be the best choice for everyone—factors like the size and complexity of your estate, size of your family, number of beneficiaries, and even details such as family relationships and dynamics, will play a role in your estate plans and, therefore, should not be entered into lightly and without legal counsel.
At Oren Ross & Associates, we have the knowledge and skills to help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of each estate planning option, and we can help you make a plan that is right for you and your loved ones. If you are looking to protect your assets and leave behind a strong legacy, let our firm help you take the right steps. Give us a call at (404) 436-1752 to learn more.