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Customized Trusts To Accomplish Your Goals

In conjunction with your will, trusts are a valuable tool for protecting family wealth and accomplishing specific estate planning goals.

The Dickerson & Smith Law Group can help you incorporate different types of trusts into your estate plan. Our knowledgeable lawyers provide customized solutions to individuals and families in the Virginia Beach area. To schedule your free consultation, call 757-828-0031.

What Is A Trust?

A trust is a legal entity that holds assets outside of your estate, sort of like creating a bank account in someone else’s name. The trust has one or more beneficiaries, such as your spouse, children or grandchildren. A trust is administered by a trustee, which could be a professional administrator, a family member or (in some cases) yourself.

We usually recommend that clients choose a relative or friend who knows the beneficiary and may be willing to do the job for a lower fee than a bank or professional trustee. We also advise clients to name at least one successor trustee in case the primary trustee dies or becomes incapacitated.

Why Would I Need A Trust?

Trusts can serve many purposes. The main benefit is that trust assets bypass the probate process and transfer directly to the beneficiaries, sparing your heirs from probate delays and expenses. Other specific applications of trusts include:

  • Asset protection from lawsuits or creditor claims
  • Minimizing taxes on property transfers or gifting
  • Putting stipulations on inheritance
  • Distributing inheritance in increments
  • Funding education
  • Leaving a legacy for charity
  • Providing “extras” through a special needs trust for a disabled family member who receives government aid

What Kind Of Trust Is Best For You?

There are four main categories of trusts. A living trust, also known as an inter vivos trust, exists while you are alive. A testamentary trust is created upon your death; the assets of your estate “pour over” into the trust. A revocable trust can be altered or revoked at any time by the grantor (you). An irrevocable trust passes out of your control once it is established; you cannot change it or take back the assets. Each type of trusts has its benefits and drawbacks.

  • The revocable living trust is a popular hybrid. Under Virginia law, you can be the trustee and beneficiary. This allows you to benefit from the trust and control it during your lifetime, including adding or withdrawing assets. Upon your death, the trust passes to your named beneficiaries, and your successor trustee takes over the administration.
  • Although you do not control or directly benefit from irrevocable trusts, they provide greater asset protection and tax shelter benefits. Examples include life insurance trusts, generation-skipping trusts and charitable trusts.

Depending on your asset base and your goals, you might employ both types of trusts for different purposes. That is where our attorneys’ knowledge and experience come in. You tell us your goals and we supply the solutions.

You Can Trust Us With Your Trust Planning

The Dickerson & Smith Law Group can help you determine if you need a trust and, if so, which kind of trust(s) will serve your needs. We coordinate your trust with your will and other estate planning documents to cover all your bases.

To arrange a consultation, call our Virginia Beach office today at 757-828-0031 or toll-free 800-506-8133, or contact us online.