Omaha Trust Lawyers
Creating a Trust
Drawing up a comprehensive estate plan is an important part of planning for your family’s future. In addition to drawing up a will to provide for your family once you’re gone, you should also consider creating a trust. A trust is a fiduciary arrangement in which a third party (the trustee) holds assets for the benefit of your chosen beneficiaries. Trusts are traditionally used as part of a well-crafted estate plan, in order to help minimize estate taxes and provide a range of other financial benefits. To ensure that the trust you create is fully legal and binding, it is recommended that you get the assistance of a qualified estate-planning attorney. Call Bottlinger Law L.L.C. at (402) 505-8234 for a free consultation with our trust attorney.
Benefits of a Trust
Trusts can be established in various ways to specify how assets will be administered for the benefit of your beneficiaries, and also how, when, and under what circumstances assets will pass to those beneficiaries. Trusts can provide a number of benefits in estate planning, including:
- Avoiding probate: Probating a will can be a lengthy process. With a trust, your beneficiaries may gain access to your assets more quickly.
- Minimize estate taxes: Certain trust arrangements can help minimize estate taxes. For example, an irrevocable trust may not be considered part of your taxable estate, meaning that your estate may owe fewer estate taxes upon your death.
- Controlling wealth: You can specify exactly when, how, and to whom distributions will be made. With a revocable trust, you can also retain access to your assets during your lifetime, while at the same time, designating how the remaining assets will be administered or distributed when you die. A trust allows you to control complex situations, such as providing for children from more than one marriage, building a charitable legacy, or preserving your beneficiaries’ entitlement to needs-based government benefits while still improving their quality of life.
- Privacy and probate savings: Probate of a will is a matter of public record. A trust that allows assets to pass to beneficiaries outside of probate helps protect privacy, as well as reducing the amount of funds spent on court fees and legal costs.
- Protecting your assets: A trust that is constructed properly can help protect your assets from creditors of your heirs, or from the overspending tendencies of your named beneficiaries.
Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trust
A revocable trust is also known as a "living trust." It allows you to retain control of your assets during your lifetime and pass them on to your heirs outside of probate after your death. A revocable trust is flexible and can be amended or dissolved during your lifetime if your intentions or circumstances should change. Although it can help you avoid probate, a revocable trust is generally still subject to estate taxes and treated like any other asset accrued during your lifetime.
Many, if not most, of our clients choose to include a revocable trust in their estate plan. But, for some, their goals are best met with an irrevocable trust, which can be an effective way to separate assets from your estate and reduce the amount of your estate subject to taxes. Also, transferring assets to an irrevocable trust can relieve you of tax liability for the income generated by the trust, and it may protect the assets in the event of a legal judgment against you.
An irrevocable trust generally cannot be altered by the grantor after it is executed. Once you establish this type of trust, it cannot be dissolved, you cannot change the terms, and you will lose control of the assets you have transferred to the trust. Despite the generally irrevocable nature of irrevocable trusts, we can also build in protections that help ensure your long-term goals are carried out, even if those goals change after you have created the trust. Another way to retain some control over an irrevocable trust during your lifetime is to name yourself as trustee or co-trustee, and name a successor trustee to manage the trust in the event of your incapacity or death, though this can limit some of the potential benefits of an irrevocable trust, such as favorable estate tax treatment and asset protection.
We will discuss these options with you during our design conferences, and we will explain these principles to you in plain English, so you understand exactly what your estate plan means and how it works. Our goal is to craft a workable (and understandable!) estate plan for you that achieves your objectives in the simplest and most straightforward manner possible.
The big question: who is going to administer your trust? After all, a trust is only as good as the person or persons that manage it. Naming a trustee or co-trustees and successor trustees to administer your trust is vitally important.
It is also critical that your trust be properly funded with the assets you want administered by your trustees. A trust is like a bucket that holds your assets for you and your beneficiaries’ benefit. If the trust does not have the assets you want it to have, it cannot achieve your goals. Many people create wonderful trusts and then forget to fund them, or they figure they will do it tomorrow, and then it never gets done. If the trust does not hold the property you wish for it to administer, the trust is a nullity. These are more reasons why you need expert guidance when planning your estate.
Estate Planning for Peace of Mind
Our estate planning practice grew out of our litigation practice, and our observation that a large number of our clients either (a) had no estate plan or (b) had an estate plan they did not understand and did not know how to implement.
We believe that for an estate plan to be successful, it must be understandable. We do not believe in sending folks along with complicated sets of documents that they do not fully understand. We will guide you every step of the way.
At Bottlinger Law L.L.C., we don’t bill by the hour for estate-planning services, so you never have to worry about picking up the phone and giving us a call or coming in for a coffee and a conversation about your plan. No matter how many visits and phone calls your estate planning requires, or how many times we need to revise your documents to get them just right, our fee will be the same, and we will not charge you a nickel until you and we decide on what that fee will be. Our initial consultations are complimentary. We want you to have peace of mind throughout this process, knowing exactly what we are going to provide for you, and exactly what our services will cost, so you are never surprised. Our goal is to help you obtain peace of mind now and for the future, knowing that your hard-earned legacy will be protected and passed on exactly as you want it to be.
To get started on planning for the future, call the Omaha offices of Bottlinger Law L.L.C. for a free case evaluation. Dial (402) 505-8234.
Our Estate Planning Services
From helping you identify whether a will or a trust makes the most sense to business succession planning and medical directives, Bottlinger Law L.L.C. provides a wide range of estate planning services. Learn more about each of these services by clicking the links below.