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If Boston residents find that a will isn’t enough for their estate planning needs, it may be time to establish a trust. Trusts offer certain benefits, including avoiding probate, minimizing estate taxes, and protecting assets. Trusts aren’t limited to individuals with large estates, either. They’re a useful tool for all kinds of estates, no matter the size of the estate.

The Heritage Law Center’s Matthew Karr, Esq., has the expertise to help you protect your assets and your future. We strive to set you and your loved ones up for success with a comprehensive estate plan that provides for your unique needs and goals. If you’re ready to take control of the future of your estate, connect with our trust attorney serving Boston residents today.

How Does a Trust Work?

A trust is a legal agreement that allows the person who created the trust (the grantor) to assign a person known as a trustee to manage the assets in a trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries. In many cases, the grantor is named the trustee and then names a successor trustee to take over if they die or become incapacitated. Once the grantor passes away, the trustee will follow the instructions of the trust to release the funds to the beneficiaries.

Unlike a will, which only goes into effect when you die, a trust functions during your lifetime. Let’s say you created a trust and named yourself as the trustee and your sister as the successor trustee. While you’re alive, if you ever become incapacitated even for a short period of time, your sister can easily jump in and manage the assets in the trust according to the trust’s instructions.

Avoid Probate and Minimize Estate Taxes

If you create a will, your estate goes through probate court. Once you pass away, probate validates the will, the value of your estate’s assets is determined, and creditors have a chance to get paid what they’re due. It’s a lengthy process that takes months and incurs a number of fees that deplete your assets. During this time, your loved ones have no access to your assets. Trusts are more likely to distribute your assets more quickly to your loved ones in need because they aren’t required to undergo probate. 

Depending on the size of your estate, your assets may be subject to taxes at the federal or state levels. Certain types of trusts provide opportunities to mitigate the amount of estate taxes incurred, which maximizes the funds your loved ones receive. Working with a skilled trust lawyer serving Boston, like Matthew Karr, Esq., to develop a strategic estate plan can secure your assets for your family and lessen the impact of estate taxes.

Control Over Your Assets

Trusts can provide options for managing assets for beneficiaries after you’ve passed away. If you have a young adult child or a relative who can’t manage their finances well, you can set up the trust to stagger the distribution of the inheritance to them at different points in their lives, so they don’t blow through it all at once. 

You may choose specific events you want your beneficiaries to receive funds for, like when they reach a certain age or pursue higher education. Setting terms like this within your trust allows you to provide support over a longer period of time at specific moments you find most important.

If a loved one suffers from gambling or addiction, for example, a spendthrift trust can help you provide monetary support with restrictions. A trustee of your choosing will be in charge to make certain the individual in question has their needs met but is protected from squandering a sizable inheritance. Your assets are also protected if you leave an inheritance in a trust fund for a beneficiary who faces problems with creditors. Because your beneficiaries have restricted access to the trust, their creditors will be less likely to be able to access the funds. 

Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trusts for Boston Families

There are many types of trusts, each with its own advantages. As a trust lawyer serving Boston, Matthew Karr, Esq., will guide you through which options are best suited to your needs. One important factor to consider is whether you want a revocable or irrevocable trust.

Revocable trusts can be changed. If you accumulate more assets or have new beneficiaries, like grandchildren, you can revise your existing revocable trust to include them. Similarly, if you separate from a spouse or need to disinherit someone, a revocable trust can be edited to reflect these changes. Revocable trusts can also be dissolved at any time.

Irrevocable trusts can’t be changed. You also may not dissolve the trust. Though irrevocable trusts are less flexible than their counterpart, they provide certain advantages, such as protecting assets from MassHealth, safeguarding assets from lawsuits, and reducing estate taxes.

You can find more information about estate planning in our free reports Estate Planning Essentials and Massachusetts Estate Planning: Saving on Taxes.

Get Help from a Trust Attorney Serving Boston

Deciding what trusts may be the right choice for you may be difficult without legal guidance. Matthew Karr, Esq., at The Heritage Law Center is here to help. 

If you’re ready to talk to an experienced trust attorney serving the Boston area who cares about the future of your estate and can help you protect it, call us at 617-299-6976 or fill out our online form below for a consultation today.