By: Carah Kiley
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Are You Considering a Family Trust?
Year after year, our clients ask us what they can do to protect the most important thing in their lives: their family. They want to ensure that no matter what, their family is taken care of and all unnecessary stress and worry is mitigated as much as possible. Ensuring your legacy is passed on to your family members the way you intended can be a heavyweight on you as the head of a family. Putting in place a family trust can be a strategically effective tactic that serves to protect your estate and guarantee that it passes to your beneficiaries.
The definition and purpose of a family trust
A family trust is a trust that serves to provide for beneficiaries who are related (biologically or not) to the person who establishes the trust (also known as the grantor). In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this type of trust is most commonly a revocable living trust (meaning that it can be changed while the grantor is still alive). A revocable living trust allows the grantor to maintain possession of the assets held within the trust until he or she dies. You may have also heard the terms, “living trust” or “inter vivos trust.” Other types could also be classified as family trusts if their purpose aligns with the goal of protecting and providing for your family.
The primary objectives of a family trust are to:
- Provide for family members
- Minimize estate taxes
- Ensure your assets are protected
- Potentially avoid the probate process
- Ensure that possession of assets and property stays within your bloodline (if desired)
- Protect your estate from a beneficiary’s divorce
- Ensure your estate is passed on to your family according to your wishes
How do you establish a family trust that’s right for you?
Establishing a trust that serves the purpose you’re after is deceptively complex, and, as we often say, the cost of getting it wrong is monumental. First, consider what functions of a family trust would be best suited for your estate plan. What do you want it to accomplish? Who do you want making the decisions about it both before and after your death? Does your family have any special circumstances you want taken into consideration? Have these initial conversations with an experienced estate attorney. They can help you define what you need, consider and address every potential obstacle, and execute the family trust.
At KLG Estate Planning & Probate Attorneys, we’ve helped countless clients develop and implement family trusts. We know how to help you and the people you love most in the world maintain a lasting legacy.