Trusts for Estate Planning in Washington, D.C.
You want to make sure that your assets are protected and stashed somewhere safe for your loved ones. Writing what’s designated to whom into your will is great, but if you’ve got a lot of money that needs dividing or you have very specific instructions on how you want things distributed, you need something more.
A trust is a great way to protect your assets until your passing, keeping them safe and ready for distribution to your loved ones.
Setting up a trust is not a task to tackle on your own.
You need a skilled, experienced attorney to guide you through the process and make sure things are done correctly.
Who Needs a Trust?
Not everyone needs to make a trust part of their estate planning process.
For many people, a trust just adds complexity and cost to their estate planning without actually providing much benefit.
There are, however, some situations where you may consider setting up a trust, including:
- You have significant assets that can be shielded from probate
- You don’t qualify for simplified probate
- Probate in your state costs a lot
- You own real estate out of state
- You want to keep your estate private
- You have a child with special needs
- You want to add extra conditions to your assets, such as a relative completing school
- Your estate is taxable
Types of Trusts
At Lopez Law Firm, we can help our clients set up a variety of trusts to suit individual needs.
Some of the trust types we handle include:
- Charitable trusts
- Credit shelter or “bypass” trusts
- A/B trusts for spouses
- Medicaid trusts
- Supplemental needs trusts
- Special needs trusts
- Revocable living trusts
- Life insurance trusts
- Dynasty trusts
We take into account all your unique needs and desires for your trust, helping you set something up that protects your assets and meets your needs.
During your consultation with our experienced estate planning attorney, you will have the opportunity to discuss what you need in a trust and determine what type is right for you.
Wills vs. Trusts
No matter the size and complexity of your estate, having a comprehensive plan for its distribution is key to giving your loved ones peace of mind after your passing.
In many cases, a will is all you’ll need to direct where your assets go and how much each relative receives.
Before you determine whether or not you need a will and a trust, here are a few things to keep in mind:
What Is a Will?
A will is a document that only go into effect after death.
In a will, you can name a legal guardian for your children, direct who receives what assets, and lay out the plan for payment of any of your debts.
What Is a Trust?
A trust is a legal entity that holds and distributes certain assets to those you name as beneficiaries.
When a trust is created, a fiduciary duty, or a legal obligation to act in the best interest of you and the trust, is given to the person you task with being the trustee.
Trusts serve various purposes, including minimizing tax obligations, providing control over assets, or distributing assets over time instead of in one lump sum.
Other Differences between Wills & Trusts
Besides the basic differences, wills and trusts differ in a variety of ways, including:
- Probate administration: Wills must go through the legal probate administration process, while trusts are protected from this process. This means that the assets held in trust won’t be caught up in probate court, released to the public, or depleted by the probate process.
- Distribution: A will can only be enacted upon the death of the person who drew up the will. Some trusts, however, can be distributed and used while you are still alive.
- Guardianship: In a will, you can name a guardian for any minor children or children with special needs who require guardianship. A trust does not do this, but you can direct that a trust be used to pay for the needs of a loved one with special needs.
Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trusts
There are two main types of trusts: revocable and irrevocable. Understanding the differences between the two types helps you make the best decision for your needs.
A revocable trust gives you, the grantor or creator of the trust, the ability to change, modify, or revoke the trust at any time. If you run into financial trouble after creating a revocable trust, for example, you can remove assets to sell and use for your living expenses.
In some states, revocable trusts become irrevocable upon the death of the grantor.
Once an irrevocable trust is created, it cannot be changed or revoked, not even by the grantor.
Your Washington, D.C., Trust Attorney
Protect your valuable assets for future generations with the help of Lopez Law Firm.
Our experienced team evaluates your individual situation and helps you make the best, most financially prudent decision to protect your assets and your loved ones. Whether you need a simple trust to pay for school for your grandchildren or you have a complex set of requirements, our team can give you the peace of mind that comes with a solid estate plan.