In addition to a Last Will and Testament (a Will), there are other tools available to you to help you accomplish your estate planning goals. One of the most popular is known as a trust. There are several types of trust, and they are not all the same, nor will they all be the proper trust for you. A trust is a very powerful planning tool and depending upon what you want to accomplish by using the trust, an estate planning attorney can assist you with choosing the correct type of trust to achieve all your goals.
A benefit of all “living trusts” are that they are useful tools that are activated and useful during your life. A living trust is created by someone while they are alive and is intended to be effective once created and throughout the life of the creator. Compare that to a “testamentary trust”, one that is included in a Will, that will not go into effect until you pass away.
A living trust is very often used to supplement other estate planning tools like a Will. Using a living trust adds a layer of privacy and control over your estate planning process. It is important to find a dedicated estate planning lawyer who has experience and familiarity with the creation of trusts. Your lawyer can help you to identify your next steps and decide what kind of trust to create. The most common kinds of trusts created in New York include:
- A revocable living trust that can be changed, terminated, or modified at any point in time while the creator is alive.
- An irrevocable living trust which provides asset protection rules and can protect from future accident claims, creditors, or long-term care concerns. There are limitations on what the creator of the trust can change, but there are versions of irrevocable trusts that quite flexible for the creator to operate.
- An irrevocable life insurance trust or other similar estate avoidance trusts that allow reduce or eliminate taxes that may be due from your estate upon your passing.
- A special needs trust which is designed to support a person with special needs, who wants to keep their state or federal government benefits and still receive support from you.
- A charitable trust, which can help to avoid estate taxation, and support a charity of your choosing, while often creating great lifetime income tax benefits.
Set up a time to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer in New York to determine your next steps and the best way to protect your interests from an estate planning perspective.