What is a Trust in Estate Planning?

February 7, 2024

When it comes to estate planning, one crucial tool that can help protect your assets and ensure a smooth transfer of wealth is a trust. At Applegate & Dillman Elder Law, our experienced estate planning lawyers help individuals in Indianapolis create personalized estate plans that include trusts tailored to their unique needs. In this blog post, we will explain what a trust is, how it works, and why it is an essential element of modern estate planning.

What is a Trust?

A trust is a legal arrangement in which a person, known as the grantor, transfers ownership of assets to a trustee who manages them on behalf of the beneficiaries. Unlike a will, a trust becomes effective during the grantor's lifetime and can even continue to operate after their passing. It allows for the seamless management and distribution of assets both during the grantor's lifetime and in the event of their incapacity or death.

Benefits of Establishing a Trust

  • Asset Protection: By placing your assets into a trust, you can protect them from potential creditors, lawsuits, or other legal claims. This protection can be particularly beneficial if you have a high net worth or own valuable assets, however, having a high net worth is not necessary. 
  • Probate Avoidance: Unlike assets that pass through a will, assets held in a trust can bypass the probate process. Probate can be lengthy, costly, and subject to public scrutiny, but a trust allows for the quick and private transfer of assets to beneficiaries according to the grantor's wishes.
  • Control and Flexibility: With a trust, you have the flexibility to determine how and when your assets will be distributed. You can include specific instructions for the trustee regarding the management and distribution of assets, such as providing for children's education or supporting charitable causes.

Types of Trusts

  • Revocable Living Trusts: This type of trust is frequently used in estate planning. As the grantor, you retain control over the assets placed in the trust during your lifetime and can amend or revoke the trust at any time. Upon your death or incapacity, the assets pass seamlessly to your chosen beneficiaries without the need for probate.
  • Irrevocable Trusts: Once assets are transferred to an irrevocable trust, you relinquish control and ownership. This type of trust provides enhanced protection against creditors and may offer tax advantages. A skilled Indianapolis estate planning lawyer can guide you in determining whether an irrevocable trust aligns with your goals.

Contact Applegate & Dillman Today

Creating a comprehensive estate plan that includes a trust is crucial to ensuring the efficient management and distribution of your assets. At Applegate & Dillman Elder Law, our dedicated team of Indianapolis estate planning lawyers understands the importance of protecting your family's future. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and let us help you create an estate plan tailored to your unique needs.

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