and Your Family
Long Island Trust
A trust is contract between the grantor, the trustee, and the beneficiaries. The grantor is the person who creates the trust. If it is your trust, then you are the grantor. The grantor is also referred to as the trustor or creator. The trustee is the person who has the responsibility of managing the trust. In some cases the grantor and the trustee are the same person. However, you can name another person to serve as the trustee. The beneficiaries are the individuals who benefit from the trust either during your lifetime or after you pass away. A trust can be an important part of your plan for transferring your property once you pass away. To learn more about trust and how a trust can help you reach your estate planning goals, contact an experienced Long Island trust lawyer at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates.Revocable vs. irrevocable trusts
Revocable. With a revocable trust you can change it or cancel it at any time during your lifetime. You can do anything you want with the property that you transfer to the trust. You do not give up control of the asset, even though the asset is no longer titled in your name, but in the name of the trust.
Irrevocable. An irrevocable has more limitations than a revocable trust. It cannot easily be changed or canceled. Also, if you decide to transfer property to an irrevocable trust, you give up control of that asset. The trustee is in control of the assets based on the terms of the trust agreement for the benefit of the beneficiaries—not for the benefit of you.Advantages of trusts
Probate avoidance. One of the most common reasons for a revocable trust is to minimize the amount of property you have in your probate estate. Assets in your probate estate must go through probate. Assets that you transfer to a revocable trust during your lifetime are not subject to probate.
Privacy. Another reason that people create trusts is for privacy. Probate is a public court proceeding. As a result wills must be filed with Surrogate’s Court and become part of the public record. This means that anyone can search the public record and get a copy of the will. On the other hand, a trust document is not part of probate and does not have to be filed with the Surrogate’s Court. Thus, the content of the trust can remain private. However, if there is a dispute related to the trust, then the trust document may become part of the public record related to the litigation.
Control. With a trust, you can make sure that the assets your give to your beneficiaries are managed in the way you want them to be managed. For example, if you have minor children or other beneficiaries who are too inexperienced or careless to properly manage the property that you leave them, you might want the property held in a trust and managed by a responsible trustee until the beneficiaries are able to manage the property themselves. Another example would be if you have concerns about what your surviving spouse does with property that you leave him or her. If you are concerned that he (or she) may give property to his new spouse or to some other person who you do not want to have the property, you can leave some property to your spouse outright, but put some of your assets into a trust that has restrictions or that has beneficiaries other than your spouse.
Asset protection. In the case of irrevocable trusts, they are often used to protect assets from Medicaid and from other possible future creditors. As a Long Island trust attorney will explain, in order for a trust to provide asset protection, the trust must be irrevocable.Types of trusts
There are many different types of trusts. The type of trust that you need depends on your goals. Common types of trusts include:
- Charitable trust. If you would like to leave property to your family as well as to a charity or multiple charities. A charitable trust allows you to provide income to designated family members but also allows you to provide assets to the charities of your choosing.
- Special needs trust. A special needs trust (SNT) is special type of trust designed to provide for a loved one who has a disability. Individuals with special needs often qualify for government benefits. To qualify for such benefits, in addition to having a disability the disabled person must also have limited assets. Otherwise, the disabled person must use his or her own assets until they fall below the threshold for qualifying for government benefits. As a result, the disabled person may have fewer assets to pay for needs beyond what government benefit will pay for. With a SNT assets can be placed in trust for the benefit of the disabled person without affecting that person ability to qualify for government benefits. There are special rules related to setting up and managing a special needs trust. To ensure that it is set up properly, contact an experienced trust attorney in Long Island.
- Spendthrift Trust. A spendthrift trust is a specialized trust that is designed to protect assets from a person who does not have the ability to manage money well. With a spendthrift trust the beneficiary will not have control of the assets and will not be able to waste the assets. In addition, typically creditors will not be able to reach the trust assets to cover debts the spendthrift may recklessly accumulate.
Whether you are contemplating creating a trust for probate avoidance, for asset protection, to provide for a disabled relative, or for some other reason, in order for your trust to meet your goals, it must be set up properly with the help of a skilled trust attorney serving Long Island. The attorneys at Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates have the experience and skill to set up your trust such that it meets the legal requirements and so that it meets your specific needs. Contact us at 800-696-9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the following locations: Long Island, Queens, Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Nassau County, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.