Protect Your Assets With a Trust
A trust is a legal entity that is central to a three-part agreement in which an individual — the trust’s “grantor” — transfers the legal title to an asset to that trust for the purpose of benefiting one or more beneficiaries. The trust is managed by one or more trustees. Trusts may be revocable or irrevocable and are sometimes included as part of a will.
Contrary to what many people think, trusts are not reserved only for the wealthy. The truth is people from all walks of life may benefit from a trust.
Revocable trusts can be changed or revoked at any time. For this reason, the IRS considers any trust assets to still be included in the grantor’s taxable estate. Irrevocable trusts cannot be changed once they are executed. The assets placed into a properly drafted irrevocable trust are permanently removed from a grantor’s estate and transferred to the trust. Most revocable trusts become irrevocable at the death or disability of the grantor.
Benefits of a Trust
Although trusts can be used in many ways, they are most commonly used to:
- control assets and provide security for the beneficiaries (of whom can be the grantor in a revocable trust).
- provide for beneficiaries who are minors or require expert assistance managing money.
- avoid estate or income taxes.
- provide expert management of estates.
- avoid probate expenses.
- maintain privacy.
- protect real estate holdings or a business.
Generally speaking, most people use trusts to help maintain control of assets while they’re alive and medically competent, as well as indirectly maintain control of the disposition of assets if they’re medically unable to do so or in the event of death.
Your qualified legal professional can help you evaluate if a trust may be appropriate for your situation.
About the author: Charles Marsala is a Financial Advisor with Benchmark Investment Group where he represents several BDC firms. Securities offered through LPL Financial, a member FINRA/SIPC. He can be contacted at Charles.Marsala@lpl.com.