Like most people, your Last Will and Testament likely serves as the foundation for your estate plan. If you plan to create more than a basic estate plan, however, you will need to include additional estate planning tools and strategies into your plan to ensure that all of your estate planning goals and objectives are covered in your plan. One of the most popular additions to a well thought out estate plan is a living trust. If you are considering the expansion of your basic estate plan, you may be wondering if you need to include a Nassau County living trust in your plan. The best way to decide if a trust would be a good addition to your estate plan is to consult with your estate planning attorney. It may help, however, to learn more about living trusts and why they are most often included in an estate plan as well.
A trust is a relationship whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another. A trust is created by a Settlor (also referred to as a Grantor), who transfers property to a Trustee. The Trustee holds that property for the trust’s beneficiaries.
All trusts are first divided into one of two categories – testamentary or inter vivos – the latter of which is more commonly referred to as a living trust. A testamentary trust is a trust that arises upon the death of the Settlor and which is typically activated by a provision in the Settlor’s Will. A living trust is a trust that takes effect as soon as all the legalities of creation are in place. Trusts are further divided into revocable and irrevocable trusts.
Why Might You Want to Include a Nassau County Living Trust in Your Estate Plan?
A living trust can serve a number of purposes within your estate plan, including:
- Probate avoidance – assets held in a trust bypass the probate process. If you want assets to be readily available to beneficiaries after your death, a living trust is often a better option for distributing assets than a Last Will and Testament because assets gifted through your Will must first go through probate.
- Incapacity planning – a revocable living trust works as an incapacity planning tool by allowing you to name yourself as the Trustee and the individual you wish to take over control of your assets in the event of your incapacity as the successor Trustee. If you become incapacitated, the successor Trustee takes over management of trust assets automatically.
- Medicaid planning – if you end up needing long-term care as a senior, the cost of that care may cause you to turn to Medicaid for help. Qualifying for benefits, however, could put your assets at risk. Establishing a Medicaid trust as part of your larger Medicaid planning component within your estate plan can protect your hard-earned assets.
- Asset protection – assets held in an irrevocable living trust are no longer legally part of your estate. Therefore, they are out of the reach of creditors or other threats to your assets.
- Special needs planning – if you have a child with special needs, a special needs trust allows you to provide financial support for your child without jeopardizing his/her eligibility for much needed assistance programs such as Medicaid or SSI.
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have questions or concerns about a Nassau County living trust, contact an experienced Nassau County estate planning attorney at the Law Offices of Kobrick & Moccia by calling 800-295-1917 to schedule your appointment.