Providing Asset Protection Solutions to Clients in PA and Throughout the U.S.
A major component of estate planning involves taking steps to preserve your assets and wealth for the next generation. Incorporating trusts into your estate plan can help you achieve asset protection, avoid probate, create customized inheritances, maintain privacy, and more.
Our Pittsburgh trusts lawyer and CPA can help you explore and implement a wide variety of estate planning tools. After carefully reviewing your goals, our Pittsburgh trusts attorneys at the Mt. Jackson Group can help you understand how a trust can help achieve them.
We always consider the big picture when evaluating estate plans and can provide you with the experienced and knowledgeable guidance you need to make informed decisions about your future.
A trust is a financial arrangement involving three parties: the person who creates the trust (the trustor), the person who oversees the trust (the trustee), and the person or people who receive assets from the trust (the beneficiaries).
In essence, a trust allows you to manage your assets throughout your lifetime and distribute them to chosen beneficiaries once you are gone.
There is a pervasive myth that trusts are only necessary if you are extremely wealthy. The truth is that trusts are essential estate planning tools that can benefit people from all walks of life. Every adult should consider using a trust to better protect their assets and loved ones.
Advantages of Trusts
Trusts share some functionality with wills in that they allow you to distribute assets to your beneficiaries once you are no longer around. However, trusts enjoy many advantages over wills.
Advantages of trusts include:
- Asset Protection. Certain types of trusts can be used to safeguard assets from predatory creditors.
- Privacy. The events of probate and the contents of your will are a matter of public record and can be reviewed and scrutinized by anyone. The contents of trusts are entirely private.
- Tax Efficiency. Estates of a certain size will be subject to federal estate taxes. Assets placed in living trusts are generally excluded from estate value calculations, so strategic placement of assets in trusts can help you lawfully avoid estate taxes.
- Customization and Flexibility. You decide how and when assets are distributed to your beneficiaries, and disbursements can occur throughout your lifetime. You may decide to leave an inheritance to your adult child when they graduate from college, for example.
- Probate Avoidance. Assets placed in living trusts are exempt from the probate process, meaning they do not need to be inventoried and are typically shielded from creditor claims. This can help your estate qualify for expedited “small estate” procedures.
Numerous types of trusts are available, each with its own set of features and potential advantages. We will work with you to identify the trusts that will allow you to achieve your estate planning objectives.
The Mt. Jackson Group's trusts attorney and CPA can assist you with:
- Revocable Trusts. A revocable trust is a type of living trust that is created while the trustor is alive. It is modifiable and cancelable throughout the trustor’s lifetime and can be used to protect assets from probate. Trustors will often serve as the trustee for their revocable trust, but they will need to select a successor trustee to assume control of the trust’s assets when the trustor passes away or becomes incapacitated.
- Irrevocable Trusts. An irrevocable trust can also be implemented while the trustor is alive, but it cannot be modified once it is created. Assets placed in an irrevocable trust will not be counted as part of the trustor’s taxable estate. These types of trusts can consequently be used to avoid estate taxes and shelter assets from creditors.
- Testamentary Trusts. This type of trust will be created after you have passed away. You can direct your personal representative to create a testamentary trust as part of your last will and testament.
- Charitable Trusts. A charitable trust is a type of irrevocable trust that allows you to benefit beneficiaries and a qualifying charitable organization. These trusts are used to generate tax efficiencies and assist with philanthropic efforts.
- Special Needs Trusts. Many individuals with special needs depend on government benefits, but obtaining them requires meeting strict income and asset holding requirements. This type of trust can be used to provide for loved ones with special needs without jeopardizing their eligibility for benefits.
ProtectiveOur approach is to maximize your assets and provide long-term financial well-being for the next generation of your family.
SupportiveNo matter how small you think your assets are, we will provide maximization strategies and support you every step of the way.
ProactiveWe encourage clients to start the estate planning process as soon as possible in order to take full advantage of the long term benefits.
Many trustors will elect to serve as their own trustees when creating a living trust. You will also need to select a successor trustee that will assume responsibility for the trust’s contents once you are gone or are unable to communicate. Because a trust is a legal and financial relationship, your chosen trustee will owe a fiduciary duty to your beneficiaries. Deliberate or inadvertent violations of this fiduciary duty can leave a trustee vulnerable to serious financial and legal consequences.
Our Pittsburgh trusts lawyer can serve as your trustee or assist existing trustees. If you have been selected as a trustee and are concerned about fulfilling your responsibilities, our team at Mt. Jackson Group can offer the comprehensive guidance you need.