Our Delaware Trust Lawyers have decades of experience preparing trusts for the protection of our clients’ assets against the forces of taxation and dissipation. We prepare two types of trusts – inter vivos trusts and testamentary trusts.
An inter vivos trust is a trust that comes into existence during the lifetime of the individual creating the trust. An inter vivos trust is also called a living trust. The individual creating the trust is called the trust settlor. The trust settlor creates the trust in writing and transfers property – often money or real estate – into the trust. A testamentary trust, one the other hand, is created by the trust settlor’s will and only comes into effect upon his or her death.
The concept of a trust is as follows: There are three parties or roles – settlor, trustee, and beneficiary. First, the settlor creates the trust by having trust documents prepared, and by transferring property into the trust. Second, the trustee holds and safeguards the trust property. The trustee is a fiduciary, meaning he or she has to act in the best interests of the trust beneficiary. The trustee must provide periodic accountings of the trust assets and must not engage in self-dealing. Third, the beneficiary is the person who receives the benefit of the trust.
A person, firm, or corporation could serve in more than one role in connection with a trust. For example, the trust settlor could place money into a trust for the benefit of his grandchildren, but the trust settlor could also serve as trustee of the trust.
There are some common reasons why our clients create Delaware trusts. Here are some examples:
- A client has three children. Each of her children have grown up and they have had children of their own. One of the client’s children has been abusing illegal drugs off and on for years. Instead of making an outright gift to him in her will, our client established a trust that would provide for that child’s education should he clean up and return to school.
- Another client anticipates moving into a nursing home for end-of-life care. The client established a Delaware “Miller Trust” and funded it with most of her life savings. Now she qualifies for Medicaid, which will cover the cost of her care. And her children – not the nursing home – will receive the benefit of her lifetime of hard work, scrimping and saving.
- A client wants to make sure all of his grandchildren and great grandchildren receive a top-quality post-secondary education and are not saddled with student loans. This client establishes a trust that may be used by his grandchildren and great grandchildren for tuition, room and board at college, university, or trade school.
- Another client wishes to avoid paying estate taxes. He and his wife each set up an inter vivos trust for the benefit of the other. Each trust will make periodic payments to the surviving spouse but will serve to shield its principal from federal estate taxes. This type of trust is called a “Credit Shelter Trust”.
We have offices conveniently located to provide expert legal representation in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Please direct all mail to our
Dover, Delaware office.
Please note that we only accept mail, exparte notice or service of process at our Dover, Delaware office, and DO NOT accept mail, exparte notice or service of process at our regional office locations.