Using surplus income to buy properties, homes, expensive jewelry, and other valuables is an excellent investment strategy. But taking care of the investments and ensuring to stay free from legal trouble may not be something people should attempt to do on their own.
Employing a trust attorney for this purpose will be a much more intelligent decision. Such attorneys are trained professionals with a myriad of experience in estate planning who deal with estate cases every day.
If you wish to consult with such professionals for help with your estate, you will find the below information helpful.
What They Do
Although trusts and wills may seem similar in function, they are not really the same thing. Unlike a will that becomes active after one’s death, trust is an active right from the time it is formed. It is created by a lawyer who specializes in trusts on your behalf.
Lawyers conduct thorough and critical legal research into your property and other assets before creating the trust for you. They will ensure you leave your possessions to your loved ones just the way you want to. It helps them avoid the legal hassle of going to court for a probate process, like in the case of a will.
Trust lawyers also offer excellent legal counsel to the trustee – the person entrusted with managing the trust. Often, people who have massive estates entrust their attorneys with the responsibility of a trustee. That’s because they are reliable and can effortlessly manage complex assets, and remain an impartial party to the process.
When Lawyers Act as Trustees
If you decide to make your lawyer or law firm the trustee to your estate, you can expect them to take up the following responsibilities.
- Fiduciary duties – A fiduciary handles the trust management while you are living and become incapacitated. Also, they will ensure the assets are distributed correctly upon your demise.
- Accounting and taxes – A trustee bears the responsibility of keeping track of all trust-related finances. This includes dispersing incomes, any investments that come in, and trust expenditures.
Typically, the trustee gives a detailed account of all these transactions to the trust beneficiaries annually. However, sometimes the terms of a trust may not allow this, so it is best to check the terms beforehand.
- Distribution – Trust lawyers use discretion to decide whether or not distributions must be made to a beneficiary. To determine this, they will evaluate the current needs, future expenses, and other income sources of beneficiaries. Also, they need to consider the size of the trust as well.
- Investment standards – Trustees ensure that all investments are prudent. They do this by taking into account the interests and needs of current and future beneficiaries. For instance, there may be a current beneficiary who is entitled to an income from the trust. However, they would benefit more if the amount was invested to generate higher future income.
When to Hire a Trust Lawyer?
Anyone clueless about managing their assets will benefit from working with a trust attorney. They are excellent at reviewing legal documents and will make sure you are protected from all possible sides.
Some typical reasons people develop trusts include:
- It helps to lower their estate taxes by an incredible margin.
- The trust ensures that your family members do not have to go through the lengthy probate process.
- It enables them to control when the inheritance is handed over to the designated loved ones.
- They protect from worst-case scenarios such as ill-health that may leave you incapacitated.
- They can help assist children with special needs.
- Trusts are a great way to make sure that every family member is well taken care of.
All in all, a trust can help you ensure your valuables are protected, and you can transfer them whenever you want them to – whether it is before or after your death.