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What Is a Family Trust?

Posted by Chris Peterson | Jun 27, 2014 | 0 Comments

What Is a Family Trust?

What Is a Family TrustIf you have loved ones, such as children, for whom you wish to provide after your death, you understand the importance of a will. A family trust, however, can be a much more effective instrument in helping ensure that assets circumvent probate and are made available to beneficiaries quickly. A College Station trust lawyer can help you determine whether a family trust is suited to your needs.

Basics of Family Trusts

A trust is a legal instrument used to manage assets in an estate, avoid probate, and, in some instances, taxes. In this way it differs from a will. It should be kept in mind that your College Station trust lawyer and you can set up a trust but also place some of your assets in a will. One does not necessarily replace the other.

A family trust is a one type of trust that serves several purposes. Also referred to as a revocable living trust, the family trust enables you, the trustor, to retain control until you die or become incapacitated. Unlike an irrevocable living trust, then, you can change the trustee you appoint, as well as the beneficiaries, at any time. Keeping  control of the assets does not come without a price: the assets are subject to estate taxes, and possibly other taxes as well.

Purposes of a Family Trust

Your College Station trust lawyer will review with you all the benefits of establishing a family trust, but among them are:

  • The assets in the trust do not pass through probate.
  • The assets are more readily available for use by beneficiaries if you become incapacitated. This is especially important, because otherwise if you are left unable to make decisions about your money for yourself, those assets—and your loved ones—can be left in a sort of financial limbo until a court decision is rendered.
  • The trust can include specific instructions on how the money is to be given to/used by beneficiaries. For instance, you may wish for real property placed in the trust to be available to a daughter once she reaches her 21st birthday.

Placing assets in the trust is not enough to transfer ownership to the trust. You must re-title the assets. For instance, if you place real property in the trust, you need to have the trust placed on the title. This is because, for a trust to perform properly, the assets placed within it become property of the trust, itself. The trustee manages the trust for the beneficiaries until such time that the assets are to be distributed to them.

Work with a College Station trust lawyer

If you would like more information about family trusts, or need help with any other estate matter, an College Station trust lawyer at Peterson Law Group can help. We strive to provide the highest standard of legal assistance to our clients. Call today to arrange a consultation at 979-703-7014.

About the Author

Chris Peterson

Chris Peterson is the owner of Peterson Law Group. He practices primarily in the areas of wills, trusts and estate planning; probate and trust administration; elder law; and business law. Chris is also the owner of Brazos 1031 Exchange Company.


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