Based out of Long Island, NY and offices in Manhattan and New Jersey, Schwartz, Fang & Keating, P.C. is a law firm of attorneys specializing in estate planning. An important consideration when planning an estate is the living trust, which, while often grouped together with wills, is actually a very different form of protecting and generating an inheritance.
Trusts are legal arrangements that allow for a third party, legally referred to as trustees, to hold onto assets on behalf of a beneficiary. Trusts have multiple types of arrangements. Trusts can declare by exactly what conditions or when assets pass to a beneficiary, which means the drafter does not need to have passed in order for them to be active.
Trusts permit the transfer of property, money, or assets through a trustee, which allows a number of specific benefits. Trusts serve best as a supplement to a last will and testament. Trusts allow for a better control over your wealth- terms can be specified with extreme precision- controlling to exactly whom and when distributions are afforded. Unlike wills, trusts can not be contested in court, as they have the added benefit of not passing through probate. In addition to saving on legal fees, trusts offer a level of privacy as they, unlike wills, are not public record. Trusts, when properly constructed with legal counsel, also help the drafter protect his or her estate from their heirs’ creditors. When irrevocable, trusts are usually not considered part of the taxable estate, meaning fewer taxes are processed upon it at the time of your death.
While wills have few legal requirements, state and regional laws have much variation regarding trusts. Terms of trust will vary depending on the jurisdiction. Seeking counsel from an estate attorney can help navigate these laws and ensure your estate is well preserved and your heirs are well protected.