Trusts can be very useful estate planning devices. One reason for this is that there are a wide variety of different purposes that trusts can be structured to serve in an estate plan. Thus, there are many different types of estate planning issues a trust may be able to help address.
Some examples of things that trusts can be used for in an estate plan include:
- Controlling what will happen with certain assets during one's life.
- Controlling what will happen with certain assets after one's death.
- Helping assets avoid probate.
- Asset protection.
- Certain types of tax planning, such as estate tax planning.
- Giving donations to charitable organizations.
- Protecting special needs benefits eligibility.
Just as there are many different goals a person can have for a trust in an estate plan, there are also a great many different kinds of trusts and ways that a trust can be structured. What specific type of trust is best suited for a given situation depends on what the person putting the trust in place wants the trust to achieve.
Thus, what a person's overall estate planning goals are can play a major role in what sorts of things they may want to consider doing trust-wise in their estate plan. Attorneys can give individuals who are setting up an estate plan information on the different types of trusts out there and the benefits and limitations of these various types. Attorneys can also work with individuals to determine if there are any particular types of trusts they should consider including in their estate plan.
Source: FindLaw, "Types of Trusts," Accessed March 23, 2015