Trusts – Boston Trust Attorney
Trusts are custom-tailored to fit each client’s unique circumstances. That’s why we cringe when we hear people purchased a ‘fill-in-the blanks’ estate plan off the Internet and think all is well. Yikes!
What is the Purpose of a Trust?
Trusts are estate-planning tools that can entirely replace or supplement a will. A Trust can also help manage property during the trust-creator’s life as well as when he or she passes. A trust manages the distribution of a person’s property by transferring its benefits and obligations to different people via a carefully-drafted trust document.
Boston Trust Attorney, Michael J. Hurley will work with you to outline your objectives, catalog your assets and list your beneficiaries. Michael will then carefully draft the language of your trust, so your trust instrument will be legal and stand up to potential challenges years later. Revocable Trusts (Living Trusts) can be changed to reflect your changing wishes, desires and life changes that occur over time such as marriages, births, assets purchased or sold, and beneficiaries. There are so many good reasons to create a trust, that more and more people are replacing the old-fashioned will-only approach to take advantage.
What are the Benefits of Trusts?
Typical benefits of a Trust include: avoiding probate, creditor protection, reduce estate taxes, reducing future tax liabilities, Medicaid eligibility, and business succession. As a Boston area trust attorney, my job is to draft a trust that meets your estate planning objectives.
Avoiding Probate is one huge benefits of Trusts. Avoiding public Probate means that your family privacy and family finances do not become part of public record that anyone can read.
Some Trusts offer asset and creditor protection. An irrevocable trust can protect your assets from your creditors. Once an irrevocable trust is established, the creator no longer legally owns the assets he or she put in the trust or change how those assets are distributed. The extent of asset protection depends on Massachusetts state law and the type of trust. Boston trust attorney, Michael J. Hurley can advise you in depth.
A Trust can minimize taxes. Most people have heard horror stories of folks who inherit a family farm but must then sell the farm to pay the Federal estate taxes! Federal estate taxes are expensive. They’ve averaged between 45%-55% and are payable IN CASH typically within nine months following a death. Like the ‘family farm tragedies,’ very few estates have that kind of cash. However, if you plan ahead, you can reduce and even eliminate estate taxes. Michael J. Hurley can guide you through the myriad of available trusts that can reduce or eliminate future estate taxes.
Medicaid eligibility planning often includes creating a Trust. Trusts are a viable option for people wanting to preserve assets and their Medicaid eligibility. A person can place assets in trust, so they are not counted as part of a person’s net worth valuation. A trust intended to plan for Medicaid must be set-up far enough in advance to satisfy eligibility requirements. Call and schedule an appointment to learn more.
Business owners can use a Trust for smooth business succession. Trusts designed for business succession can take many forms, but the intent is protecting and controlling the passing of business ownership, and for some clients, using the succession planning as perks to beneficiaries who will receive a stake (or greater stake) in the company.
Revocable Trusts — Most new clients ask me about a “Living Trust.” A ‘living trust’ is easier terminology for ‘Revocable Trust.’ The word ‘Living’ explains that the trust is totally under your control while you live. Ninety percent of people getting their personal estate plan in order will have some sort of revocable trust. A ‘Revocable Trust’ allows you to add or remove assets held in the trust as your life circumstances change. You can even change your mind and dissolve the trust. YOU COMPLETELY CONTROL a “Living (Revocable) Trust” while you are alive.
Revocable Trusts are popular because they are FLEXIBLE – If your revocable trust has your home and IRAs in it and you buy a vacation home, you can add the vacation home to your revocable trust. If you are blessed with a new child or grandchild, you can amend your Revocable Trust to name them as a designated beneficiary.
A Revocable Living Trust acts like a will, but with significant advantages. A Revocable Trust specifies what assets go to which beneficiaries like a will, BUT saves your loved ones’ the frustrations, expense, and months of time dealing with the government – the Probate Court. Moreover, your private family details and family financial records do NOT become part of the searchable public record for anyone to access.
Irrevocable Trusts are for clients with larger estates. Irrevocable Trusts can reduce the value of your taxable estate. Federal estate taxes are significant at 45% to 55% and payable in CASH in the first year following your death. An Irrevocable Trust allows you to gift assets to your designated beneficiaries over time, if you choose. If you were worried about a 19-year old’s maturity and decision making, the creator of the trust can specify the bulk of the assets are distributed when he or she reaches 30-years of age. An Irrevocable Trust can offer creditor protection of your assets to future creditors by changing the ownership from you to a trust. The trust also offers protection for the beneficiaries.
Anyone Can Afford a Trust
Trusts are created every day by savvy people. As to affordability? Very much like a sliding scale that parallels your stuff… The less you have, the less a trust will cost. Most of my clients are ‘average families.’ Our typical client is a couple (some with children, some without…). they own a home, have a savings account, some sort of retirement account, and a couple of cars. They require a very straight-forward and very affordable trust package. A Trust document is always just one in a handful of supporting estate planning documents. Other clients, who may have started a business or invested in real estate over the years, will have more assets which will translate to a correspondingly more complex estate plan which requires more hours to assemble and will cost more.
Boston Area Trust Attorney Will Custom-Draft a Trust for You
Do it right the first time. Using the services of a non-lawyer, or even a lawyer not properly trained in estate planning, can end up costing more money to fix problems at the worst possible time. Everyone needs their Trust to be custom-drafted to fit –exactly– your unique situation, and stand up to possible challenges years later. As your greater Boston estate planning attorney, I will help you determine which estate-planning options are best for you. Call me. Let’s talk by phone to see if we are a good fit.
Set Up a Day, Evening or Weekend Appointment Now
The initial phone consultation is free to answer some of your questions and make introductions. If you want to move forward, we offer a reduced fee initial sit-down strategy meeting where I will personally review your unique circumstances in our Boston or North Andover offices, your home, your business, a hospital room, or even at your corner Starbucks.
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Expert, affordable, trust and estate planning attorney, Michael J. Hurley serves clients in the Greater Boston area and throughout Massachusetts. We also offer Trust and Probate administration to individuals and families from Boston, North Andover, Lawrence, Merrimack Valley, Essex County, Middlesex County, and Suffolk County.