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Trusts & Estate Planning

Trusts can be invaluable tools in your estate plan.  A Trust is an arrangement where one party holds property for the benefit of another party.  In an estate planning context, trusts are created by the person doing the estate planning who authorizes another person (the trustee) to manage the assets for the benefit of a third party (the beneficiaries).  There are many reasons for establishing trusts including tax minimization or providing for the needs of underage beneficiaries.

Some types of trusts that may be useful in estate planning are:

Trusts for minors.  Many people leave money or other assets to their children or their grandchildren in a trust as part of a comprehensive estate plan.  This is typically done to ensure the money is there for the children’s benefit while they are younger-for support, education, medical expenses, etc.  Once the children reach a certain age or achievement level (such as obtaining a bachelor’s degree), they may receive money from the trust to do with as they please.

Special needs trusts.  Special needs trusts are tools that enable a person to leave property to an individual with special needs.  Many individuals with special needs receive government benefits.  If they were to suddenly inherit money, they could become disqualified from those benefits until the inheritance was spent.  Special needs trusts protect those individuals’ government benefits while allowing them to have money for any extras they may need.

Marital trusts.  Married couples sometimes include trusts in their wills, or separately, for the benefit of their spouse, typically for two reasons: (1) taxes and (2) property protection.  In previous years, marital trusts were needed for some couples to take advantage of estate tax exemptions, and they may be needed in the future as the laws change from time to time.  Marital trusts can also protect property from a spouse to ensure that it ultimately goes where it needs to go.  For example, a husband with grown children from a previous marriage may decide to let his wife use his property after he passes, but puts it into a trust so that after she passes away it goes to his children.

Revocable living trusts.  Revocable living trusts are documents completely separate from wills although they often work hand in hand with wills to carry out the decedent’s wishes.  Revocable living trusts are primarily used to avoid probate in states where probate is particularly cumbersome, or in a few other instances, such as when a person owns real estate in multiple states.

Irrevocable life insurance trusts.  Irrevocable life insurance trusts (or ILIT’s) can be used in order to move a person’s life insurance proceeds outside his or her estate for estate tax purposes.

As you can see, there are many different types of trusts, each of which can be customized to serve a valuable purpose in accomplishing the wishes of those making gifts or planning an estate. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you assess your finances and goals to determine the best vehicles to preserve your wealth and your legacy.

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Robins & Robins, P.A. based in Salisbury, MD serves the Delmarva Peninsula and Maryland ‘s Eastern Shore including Wicomico, Somerset, Worcester, Dorchester and Talbot Counties.



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© Robins & Robins, P.A. | Disclaimer
128 East Main Street, P.O. Box 506, Salisbury, MD 21801
| Phone: 410-749-3791


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Law Firm Website Design by
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