trusts

Four Things to Consider About Silent Trusts

It is almost always a good idea to have conversations with your loved ones about what your estate plans are. While some people choose to gather together with family members and discuss these things, other people decide to address these issues in written form. If you decide to implement a silent or quiet trust as part of your estate plan, however, you will not be able to discuss these terms with your loved ones. This is because a silent trust restricts the amount of information that you can share with beneficiaries. If you are wondering if you should  include a silent trust in your estate plan, consider the following useful information.  The Advantages of Silent Trusts The ability to keep the terms of a trust secret provides several substantial benefits, which include: Avoiding beneficiary scrutiny of the investment and management of trust assets Ensuring confidentiality regarding the trust creator’s affairs and estate plans Preventing the disclosure of information regarding the trust’s management of assets Reducing the chances that beneficiaries are subject to fraud or identity theft The Disadvantages of Silent Trusts The most substantial drawback to silent trusts is that they make it impossible to keep beneficiaries informed about your [...]

2021-02-08T17:57:03+00:00Tags: , , |

Three Things to Understand about Joint Property Ownership

A common piece of advice offered by estate planning lawyers is that various advantages can be realized by owning property jointly. In reality, joint ownership offers several advantages for surviving family members. Instead of viewing joint property ownership as an answer to every estate planning challenge, however, it is a good idea to be aware of the challenges and issues involved with such an estate planning technique. There are Two Types of Joint Ownership Joint ownership requires more than one party having interest in a property. For married couples, there are two options regarding how to jointly structure ownership of property: Joint tenancy with the right of survivorship is the most common type of joint property ownership. Titling assets in such a way often means that the property will be used for a personal residence. Structuring property in such a way means that either spouse can sell their share of the property without obtaining the other’s consent.  In property that is structured as tenancy by the entirety, one person owns his or her share of the property without the involvement of the other. Structuring property this way provides better creditor protection. In New York, unless the deceased individual who owned [...]

2021-01-15T16:03:45+00:00Tags: , , , |

Mistakes Frequently Made in Trust Administration

Creating a trust helps people achieve various important goals. Trusts help to manage assets and property as well as make sure that assets are appropriately distributed after a person's death. Trusts can also protect from creditors and others who are interested in collecting on debts. Despite these advantages, however, administering a trust appropriately is not easy. There are several mistakes that people commonly make while handling trusts. Not Understanding What is Required as a Trustee Sometimes, trustees are appointed without being certain about what their responsibilities are. Other times, ambiguous language in the terms of the trust leaves a trustee uncertain what the trust’s creator wanted. Because trustees are personally liable for mismanagement of trusts, it is a good idea for trustees to carefully identify what duties are requested and whether any potential conflicts need to be resolved first. Mismanagement of Trust Assets Trustees have a duty to act in the best interest of the trust beneficiaries and must also conform to federal laws and regulations. These regulations permit beneficiaries to pursue payment from trustees for any investment decisions that lead to financial losses. Trustees, however, can protect themselves by delegating investment duties to a professional investor. Not Remaining Neutral [...]

2020-10-17T19:37:08+00:00Tags: , , |

Should You Place Real Estate in a Trust?

If you are interested in avoiding probate, you might have considered placing property in a trust. You might also have questions about whether the trust will be able to protect from creditors or remove the real estate from your taxable assets. This article reviews some critical details to understand about placing real estate in a trust, but remember that in these situations it also helps to speak with a skilled attorney.   How Trusts Function   Before discussing reasons to place real estate in a trust, it helps to understand some of the most basic terms used in relation to trusts, which include:   A beneficiary is a person designated to receive assets under the terms of the trust A grantor is an individual who establishes and fund the trust A trustee is an individual tasked with managing the assets in a trust   Avoiding Probate by Placing Real Estate in a Trust   The main advantage of placing real estate in a trust is to avoid the probate process, which can be both costly and lengthy. Passing real estate to loved ones through the terms of a will, however, results in the assets being subject to various costs. Because [...]

2020-09-25T15:24:35+00:00Tags: , , |

Common Mistakes That Will Damage Your Estate Plan

Each estate plan has its weaknesses, but the best ones take their shortcomings into consideration. The less well-written estate plans leave substantial weaknesses that can jeopardize the outcome of a person’s estate. The following reviews some of the most common estate planning errors that people made in 2019 as well as reviews what you can do to avoid making them. # 1 - Naming Yourself as a Sole Trustee There are legitimate reasons why people are often instructed to name someone other than the trust’s creator as a trustee. Each year, many estate plans end up susceptible to unjust influence because a person becomes incapacitated and surrounding loved ones have less than noble motivations. One of the best ways to make sure that your trust is fairly administered is to name someone capable of responsibly acting as a trustee. # 2 - Receiving the Wrong Advice (or None at All) One of the best places to begin creating an estate plan is by considering who you can utilize to best achieve your goals. Estate planning teams should often include elder law attorneys as well as financial advisors who can make sure that you make the best financial actions. When receiving [...]

2020-09-10T13:36:07+00:00Tags: , |

How to Make the Most of Life Insurance Policies and Trusts

There are a number of estate planning funding sources. For example, death benefits received from a life insurance policy can often be considerable. These benefits can then either be paid directly to beneficiaries or can be placed in a trust and distributed to a beneficiary at a later date.  The following will review some of the reasons to consider funding a trust with benefits from a life insurance policy.  Using Trusts for Benefits is More Advantageous Some people decide to name an individual and an alternative to receive benefits from a life insurance policy, but it is often a wiser idea to name a trust as a beneficiary.  In many cases, there are limitations placed on naming a secondary alternative death beneficiary who receives benefits if the first named party does not survive the policy holder. Instead, placing life insurance benefits in a trust that contains instructions for a trustee on how the amount should be distributed is often a much more preferable option.  This is because trusts can be drafted in such a way to protect a beneficiary who would spend assets unwisely if they directly received them. Furthermore, trusts can also be used to protect assets from creditors.  [...]

2019-09-26T20:44:08+00:00Tags: , |

Ways to Add Flexibility to a Trust

The Tax Cut and Jobs Act of December 2017 offered a number of advantages to individuals who are interested in estate planning. This new law, however, is not without its limitations. For example, many of the provisions included in the act will expire in 2025. As a result, it is critical to consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure that your planning techniques will carry you through. One helpful technique is to make sure to include provisions in trusts that make them flexible and capable of adapting to changes in your life circumstances as well as the law. The following will review some of the most helpful strategies that can be used to make trusts flexible. Decanting The decanting process involves moving assets from an old trust into a new one that better reflects current circumstances or which contains more advantageous terms. It is even possible to use the decanting process to alter irrevocable trusts, which generally are not capable of being altered.  While many states have laws allowing the decanting process, Oklahoma currently does not.  Even though it is currently not possible to decant a trust in Oklahoma, if your estate will likely be administered elsewhere, it is [...]

2019-09-26T20:39:55+00:00Tags: , |

What are Bypass Trusts?

Establishing an effective estate plan is one of the best ways to make sure that your assets are properly handled following your death. Based on the exact details of your situation, it is worth considering whether a bypass trust would be able to help achieve your goals.  The following will take a brief look at what bypass trusts are as well as some of the benefits that can be taken advantage of through the use of this estate planning tool.  How Bypass Trusts Operate Bypass trusts are legal agreements that offer married couples the opportunity to avoid estate taxes after a spouse passes away. When one spouse passes away, an estate’s assets are divided into two separate trusts. One trust is categorized as marital, while the second is a bypass trust. Marital trusts are revocable and belong to the surviving spouse. The terms of revocable trusts are capable of being changed by the individual who created the trust. Bypass trusts, however, are irrevocable and their terms cannot be changed.  Surviving spouses often act as the trustees of bypass trusts. It is the duty of a trustee to make sure that assets from a couple’s estate are appropriately divided into each [...]

2019-08-19T15:38:39+00:00Tags: , , |

How Trusts can Help People Who do Not Have a Lot of Assets

Estate planning is an uncomfortable process. Most people find it difficult to consider how their belongings will be distributed following their death. If you fail to make these choices, however, the alternatives are often much less desirable.  Not only does failure to create an adequate estate plan increase the chances that fighting will occur in your family, unnecessary taxes are also common. These challenges as well as many others can be avoided through the creation of a trust.  Despite this, the myth persists that trusts are only for the extremely wealthy and that they take a great deal of funds upfront to create. In reality, trusts are a powerful tool for most people because they offer the ability to great simplify things after a person’s death.  The Role of Trusts There are a number of different types of trusts that can be made part of a person’s estate plan. The most common type of trust used is a revocable living trust, which lets a person clearly outline how assets in an estate will be administered following that person’s death.  Trusts also let people avoid the probate process, which is the legal process through which a will is declared valid. Many [...]

Reasons You Might Need to Write Someone Out of Your Will

In a perfect world, everyone would get along and there would be no arguments between family members or loved ones. Because we do not live in a perfect world, there are a number of issues and challenges in relationships that arise when estate plans are involved. Due to these disputes, it often becomes necessary for a parent or family member to write a loved one out of his or her will. An experienced estate planning lawyer has helped a number of people create their own unique estate plans, which can include writing loved ones out of an inheritance. While there are a number of reasons why you might decide to write someone out of your will, the following will discuss some of the most common reasons why you might employ this estate planning strategy. The Nature of the Relationship Has Changed One of the most common reasons that people choose to write someone out of his or her will is because the relationship with that person has changed. Relationships are often either strengthened or weakened over time. No matter how or why a relationship has changed, Oklahoma probate laws often allow an individual to write someone out of a will. [...]

2019-05-31T16:10:48+00:00Tags: , , , |