Why Would I Consider a Trust for my Estate Planning?

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Chayet & Danzo, LLC

Posted on

Mar 16, 2017

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Colorado - Denver Metro

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There are times when a trust might be an option in your estate planning instead of or in addition to a will. So why should you consider a trust?
Trusts are useful estate planning tools that can accomplish a variety of goals. They can help avoid probate, minimize taxes, and be used to give property to minor or disabled loved ones. Trusts can be created during a person's lifetime (Living Trusts) or at the person's death (Testamentary Trusts). Some different types of Trusts from both categories are discussed below.

Living Trust

A person can transfer their assets to a Living Trust and, as trustee, continue using their assets as they always have. If the Trust is revocable, the person can amend or terminate the Trust. If they become incapacitated or die, the successor trustee of their choice will continue to manage their assets the same way and will distribute the property remaining in the Trust at their death to whomever they choose without the need for court involvement.

Tax Planning Trusts

Several different types of Living Trusts provide flexible alternatives for minimizing capital gains and estate taxes, including the Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT), Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), Qualified Personal Residence Trust (QPRT), Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT), and Grantor Retained Unitrust (GRUT). The specific type of Trust involved determines how it is funded, used during the person's lifetime, and distributed at the person's death.

Testamentary Trusts

A person can create a Trust under a Will, called a Testamentary Trust, which does not take effect until they are deceased. A Will can contain a Marital or Family Trust for tax planning. A person can also create a Testamentary Trust for the support and education of a beneficiary who is a minor. Finally, a person can create a Testamentary Special Needs Trust (TSNT) for a disabled beneficiary to pay for special needs that are not covered by public benefits programs, without affecting the beneficiary's eligibility for programs like Medicaid.

Disability Trusts (also known as Special Needs Trusts)

A Disability Trust is a type of Living Trust that allows a disabled person under the age of 65 to use her own assets for her special needs, other than food and shelter, and keep public benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Trust can be established by the person's parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or a court. If there are any funds remaining in the Trust at the person's death or when they no longer require medical assistance from the state, those funds must be used to pay back the state medical assistance program up to the amount of assistance provided for the person.

These are just a few of the Trusts that can assist in accomplishing specific estate planning goals, including minimizing taxes, qualifying for public benefits, or avoiding probate administration. Trust planning can be complex.

Editors Note: This article was submitted by Marco D. Chayet, Esq.
Marco is a partner and elder law attorney with Chayet & Danzo, LLC, and may be reached at 303-355-8500 or by email at Marco@ColoradoElderLaw.com

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