The way you originally establish and later fund your trust is an essential part of achieving your goals for the trust. While trusts can be straightforward, they can also be complicated by different state or federal laws. If you are funding a trust you will benefit from the legal advice of the knowledgeable elder care lawyers at the Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A.
Because trusts can, and often do, change over time, you may benefit from joining a trust maintenance program or asking for help funding your trust. To determine if it would be helpful to incorporate this option into your estate plan, here are a few considerations.
What Is a Trust?
A trust is a legal entity that holds a person’s assets. Trusts, as part of a complete estate planning tool, may include many different kinds of assets including real estate, personal property, money, investments, life insurance policies, businesses, etc. The establishment of a trust requires the grantor (creator of the trust), the beneficiaries, and the trustee. A trust can be established for common or unique financial circumstances, all intended to accomplish your estate planning goals for your assets and beneficiaries.
What Does it Mean to “Fund” a Trust?
When you “fund” your trust, your assets are transferred from you to the trust. This happens by changing the assets from your name to the title of the trust.
Why is Funding a Trust Important?
One of the main purposes of a trust is to avoid probate. A trust will help ensure your financial wishes are carried out as you prefer after your death. This is a way to ensure your beneficiaries are taken care of. When your trust is funded, those assets can then be fully accessed and controlled by your trustee(s) rather than going through probate.
Who Funds a Trust?
While you are ultimately responsible for funding your trust, our attorneys can help you consider all of the assets you would want to transfer to your trust as well as help with more complicated transfers, such as real estate.
What is a Trust Maintenance Program?
A trust maintenance program is a beneficial tool offered by Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A. because circumstances change over time, and you may find that you want to change or amend the terms of your estate planning documents. With the trust maintenance program, you will frequently meet with our firm to discuss your needs, wishes, and any changes in life circumstances to ensure your estate planning documents are always up to date. Also, trusts can exist for many years. During that time, the trust may be used to provide monies to a beneficiary for a specific purpose, including health, maintenance, education, etc. Should you choose this option, a lawyer may help ensure you use the income and/or principal according to appropriate standards.
How Can a Trust Maintenance Program Benefit Me?
As mentioned, trusts and the circumstances surrounding your life and assets can change in the years after you establish your trust. A maintenance program is an excellent way to ensure that your trust is current and accomplishing its intended goals.
Your estate is yours and should be managed and/or changed in a way that benefits you, your goals, and the beneficiaries of your estate. As circumstances and assets change throughout your life, at the Law Office of Amy B. Van Fossen, P.A., we work, to the best of our ability, to ensure every client’s trust goals are met. Learn more about our process at the next Trust Follow Up Seminar or contact us today.