Trust Lawyers in Dover, DE Can Update Your Will and Keep Estate Plans Current
If you’ve worked years to earn everything you have, you know the burden of worrying about how to protect or distribute your assets. In some instances, you may want to provide money to a loved one but with certain limitations. Of course, you may also hope to pass on properties while avoiding federal estate taxes. In these situations and many others, a trust lawyer in Dover, DE may be able to help.
At Schwartz & Schwartz, our wills, trusts, and estate lawyers in Delaware work diligently to ensure each of our client’s wishes is met. A trust is a very special kind of fiduciary arrangement that offers a variety of benefits. Such benefits include privacy, control of your assets, protection of your legacy, avoiding court and probate fees, and the possibility of saving on estate taxes. Of course, you have to take the first step to access these benefits. Contact us today to learn how.
What Is a Trust?
As a fiduciary arrangement, a trust is a legal relationship that transfers the right to hold assets to another party — but that party can only use those rights to benefit specific individuals. A Delaware trust will specify who the beneficiary of the trust is, how they can access the trust, and when access to the trust is available. This legal relationship is typically able to avoid probate, so beneficiaries could gain assets much quicker than through a traditional will.
A trust can be revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust can be canceled or altered during the life of the individual who creates it. This also allows the individual to access their assets while still alive and then pass on the remaining trust to the beneficiaries after death. An irrevocable trust is exactly what it sounds like. Once the trust is established, that’s the way it will stay. This route creates potential tax savings since irrevocable trusts aren’t considered part of an estate.
Who Are the Parties to a Trust?
There are three primary parties to every trust. Individuals, corporations, firms, and other entities can all qualify as parties to the trust. In some instances, the same party may serve multiple roles in the arrangement. For instance, a settlor could also act as their own trustee. The following are the parties to any trust:
- Settlor: This is the individual who creates the trust. They get their documents prepared and transfer property into the trust. They choose the specifics of everything in the trust.
- Trustee: This is the party that holds and safeguards the trust property. While they hold rights over the property, they’re only fiduciaries. This means they have to act in the best interest of the trust beneficiary.
- Beneficiary: This is the party that stands to benefit from the property in the trust. The settlor specifies who this individual, corporation, or organization is.
While the trustee will have an enormous amount of control in this financial arrangement, it’s the settlor that grants that control. For instance, the settlor may wish for the properties in a trust to be released whenever the beneficiary gets married. Once this is put in writing, the trustee must release the property once the marriage occurs.
As you might expect, these sorts of arrangements can be complicated for those without experience. This is why our trust lawyers in Dover, DE are standing by and ready to help. If you’re ready to establish a trust for any reason whatsoever, our legal professionals can help you iron out the details and get everything in legal order.
What Are Some Examples of Delaware Trusts?
All the “legal speak” and involved issues of Delaware trusts make them difficult to comprehend. It’s honestly simpler to understand them by providing examples. At Schwartz & Schwartz, Attorneys at Law, our trust lawyers in Dover, DE have helped clients who sought trusts for a variety of different needs. Here are some of the most common examples we’ve seen:
- A client has three children. They’re all adults now, but one has been abusing drugs for several years. Rather than making an outright gift to their adult child, a client can establish a trust specifying that they can only access assets after getting clean and returning to school.
- A client may anticipate moving into a nursing home, but this could easily eat into their life savings. Rather than paying a lifetime of earnings to cover such care, they can establish a Delaware “Miller Trust.” Putting their life savings into the trust could make them eligible for Medicaid. Now that Medicaid will pay for the cost of care, our client’s children can receive their parent’s life savings.
- A client wants their grandchildren and great-grandchildren to have access to a top-quality college education. They establish a trust which specifies that the money within the trust can be used for tuition, room and board, books, and other education expenses.
- A client wants to avoid paying estate taxes. He and his wife each create their own inter vivos trust and lists the other as the beneficiary. The trust can make periodic payments to a surviving spouse while protecting the principal from federal estate taxes. This is known as a “Credit Shelter Trust.”
While these examples cover a large swath of legal areas, they’re really just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless reasons a person may opt to create a trust. Regardless of why you need this service, our Delaware trust attorneys are ready to help. Contact us today to get started.
What Types of Delaware Trusts Can Schwartz & Schwartz Handle?
The Dover, DE trust attorneys at Schwartz & Schwartz handle two primary types of trusts. While varying specifics will fall into each of these, the main categories of Delaware trusts are as follows:
- Inter Vivo trusts: Also known as a living trust, this arrangement allows for the transferal of properties while the settlor is still alive.
- Testamentary trusts: This type of trust is created by the settlor’s will. The trust will not take effect until after the settlor passes on.
As discussed earlier, a single party can play multiple roles in a trust. However, this is only true for the settlor when creating living trusts. This is because they’ll be unable to execute the will after they’re gone.
Contact a Trust Lawyer in Dover, DE Today
Creating a trust is a great way to pass assets to beneficiaries and avoids many of the issues inherent to traditional probate. There are innumerable reasons one may choose to go this route, but once the decision is made, it’s essential to ensure it’s done right. Simple mistakes can prove extremely costly when it comes to estate plans or creating special purpose fiduciary arrangements. Fortunately, an experienced attorney can help you avoid such issues.
At Schwartz & Schwartz, Attorneys at Law, our estate administration lawyers have spent years serving the residents of Delaware and the surrounding region. We understand that creating a trust in Delaware — and other issues involving estate, beneficiaries, and asset protection — can seem complex and tedious. That’s why we’re here to help. Contact us today by calling 302-678-8700 to schedule a consultation. With our trust lawyers in Dover, DE on your side, you’ll know your assets are in good hands.