Trusts Attorney in Conyers, Georgia
The goal of estate planning is to ensure that your estate is passed down to your beneficiaries precisely as you wish. One way to accomplish this is through a trust. A trust is a fiduciary relationship between you and an appointed trustee. The trustee holds title to assets or property on behalf of a beneficiary. The trustee ensures that the assets or property is distributed according to your wishes. A trust prevents possible disputes from arising and relieves all relevant parties from being buried in paperwork. In some cases, a trust can shield assets or property from estate taxes.
At Sharline S. Green, P.C., I can help you establish the rules and terms of a trust that fits your specific needs. I’ve dedicated my career to empowering individuals and families with comprehensive estate planning education and legal assistance. If you’re located in or around Conyers, Georgia, or in the neighboring areas of Covington, Snellville, Lawrenceville, Greensboro, Atlanta, Oxford, Loganville, and Grayson, contact me today so we can begin preserving your legacy and handing down your estate to those you love most.
Overview of Wills and Trusts
A will is a legal document in which you designate how your estate – money, property, heirlooms, everything of monetary or personal value – is to be distributed upon your death. The will names a personal representative who will oversee the administration of your estate.
The problem with wills, however, is that they must go through probate court proceedings, which can take months and run up potential legal bills if there are challenges by creditors or would-be beneficiaries who feel left out.
A living trust, on the other hand, accomplishes the same distribution of assets but without the need for court supervision. In a living trust, you name what is called a successor trustee, who will function just as a personal representative would in overseeing the final distribution of your estate. Before you pass away, you remain the trustee fully in charge of your life and your estate.
Another benefit of a living trust is that the successor trustee can take over management of your assets should you become incapacitated, whereas a personal representative named in a will cannot. Like a will, a trust can be modified or canceled at any time. Thus, a living trust is also called a revocable trust.
Types of Trusts
In addition to living or revocable trusts, other types of trusts can be created depending on the needs of you and your loved ones.
An irrevocable trust is just that: it is cast in legal stone once you create it. In an irrevocable trust, you assign all your assets to a trustee and basically step aside. Irrevocable trusts are often created to shield your assets against creditors, beneficiaries you wish to exclude, and even Medicaid. It is often referred to as a “safe haven.”
Trusts for minor children are used to hold and distribute assets to minor children until they reach the age of majority to safeguard the assets and keep them from others who may be predatory. These trusts also prevent a 16-year-old from going on a Lamborghini-like buying spree.
Special needs trusts are available to care for family members who may be physically or mentally challenged by providing funds to supplement public health or other benefits being utilized. Public programs like Medicaid often place an income or asset limitation on those receiving their services. Special needs trusts can provide a source of supplemental income that does not void access to public benefits.
A Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) Trust serves a dual function. It allows you to designate income and assets to your surviving spouse and also designate other assets and income for other beneficiaries once the surviving spouse passes on.
Benefits of a Trust Over a Will
The most obvious benefit is that a trust does not go through probate, but this does not mean you might not also need to have a will in place. For one thing, if you have minor children but no spouse to care for them when you’re gone, you must use a will to name a guardian. Trusts cannot be used for this purpose.
Another benefit is that a trust does not get a public airing in court, so the details of what transpires – who gets what, etc. – are totally private.
Finally, a living trust, as noted above, can also allow someone – the successor trustee – to take over management of your estate should you become incapacitated.
Naming a Personal Representative or Trustee
Naming someone to oversee the final distribution of your estate – selling off assets, paying taxes and creditors, and then taking care of the beneficiaries – obviously requires careful consideration.
The person you name as a personal representative or trustee should be someone you trust implicitly, whether a spouse, family member, or close friend. After all, whoever gets control of your estate can take advantage of their position to enrich themselves, though there are laws protecting against this.
In the case of choosing a trustee, you can also go outside your circle of family or friends and name a legal or fiduciary entity to oversee the distribution of your estate.
Trusts Attorney in Conyers, Georgia
Every person’s situation is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to estate planning. That’s why it’s important to meet with an experienced, knowledgeable estate planning attorney. At Sharline S. Green, P.C., your needs and the needs of your loved ones are fully taken into consideration. If you’re in or around Conyers, Georgia, contact me so we can get started on creating peace of mind for you and your loved ones through careful, considerate estate planning.