Trusts Lawyers in NYC, Safeguarding Your Assets and Ensuring Beneficiaries Get What They Deserve
Proper estate planning is a foundational element in protecting your assets. When you leave this world, it’s likely that your money and properties will go through the probate process. However, it’s possible to avoid this in many instances. This is why creating a trust may provide a vital estate planning tool — superseded in importance only by your last will and testament. However, the creation of such a legal document is typically far more complex than a traditional will. That is why it’s so important to have the assistance of skilled legal counsel. A trusts lawyer in NYC can help.
At Marchese & Maynard, LLP, our New York estate attorneys have spent years helping clients in and around the five boroughs. Our goal is to ensure your assets go exactly where you want them, and in many cases, this means creating trust property to protect these assets from taxes and other costly issues. Whether you want to engage in charitable giving or simply ensure your loved ones get the most out of what you leave behind, an NYC trust attorney at Marchese & Maynard, LLP is ready to help. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation and learn more.
What Are Trusts and How Do They Work?
A trust is a legal document that grants a party the right to hold and manage a person’s properties or money. The managing of these assets must be to the benefit of another party. The party that manages the trust is known as the “trustee.” This can be another individual, an institution, or even the person creating the trust (i.e., “grantor”). The person who benefits is known as the “beneficiary.” There are many reasons that a person may create a trust, but it’s typically done as a form of estate planning. The trust assets can go to heirs while avoiding many of the costly tasks involved with traditional probate.
A trusts lawyer in NYC can help you better understand these documents, but they’re essentially created in the same way as wills. They are physical documents that dictate what happens to your assets. The party who is managing your trust must do so based on the instructions you provide in the document. This includes how the trust will be managed when assets should be distributed, and when the trust will end. For instance, the grantor may dictate that a small percentage of their teen child’s inheritance be given each year — with the full amount only being distributed once they graduate college.
There are various ways that trusts can work, and it often comes down to the type of trust created by the grantor and the estate attorneys they work with.
What Types of Trusts Are Available?
While certain trusts are more common in estate planning, every type of trust could be part of such planning. At Marchese & Maynard, LLP we represent clients with varying needs. This means we’ve assisted with every type of trust you could imagine — along with creating other tools that can protect our clients’ estates. We feel that it’s important for all our new clients to understand their options regarding trusts — even before they come in for their free consultation. With that in mind, here are the common trusts you’ll likely find beneficial for estate planning:
This is a trust created during the grantor’s lifetime. Its goal is to distribute assets to beneficiaries at the time of the grantor’s death. However, this distribution is not guaranteed. That’s because a revocable trust can be modified or canceled at any point during the grantor’s life.
An irrevocable trust is similar to a revocable trust in every way except one: it cannot be modified or canceled even when the grantor is still alive. This may seem like a less ideal approach, but taking this route provides certain benefits such as fewer taxes, government program eligibility, and protection from creditors.
Special Needs Trust
A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is meant to provide continuing care for an individual with special needs. The goal is to provide such care without interfering with the individual’s ability to receive government entitlement benefits. If large amounts of money were immediately granted to the individual, their income might suddenly exceed benefit thresholds.
Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust
This trust owns life insurance policies on behalf of the grantor. This keeps any life insurance benefits from becoming part of your estate.
Many people want to leave assets to more than just their family members. This is the goal of charitable trusts. Various types of trusts fall under this umbrella, and in many cases, they provide relief from taxes while an individual is still alive. An NYC trusts lawyer can help you better understand this legal document and others in your estate plan.
Living Trust vs. Testamentary Trust
Each of the documents discussed above is either a living trust or a testamentary trust — and in some instances, they could be either. A living trust goes into effect while the grantor is still alive. A testamentary trust only takes effect once the grantor has died.
What Estate Planning Goals Can Trusts Help You Achieve?
Law offices are often asked why people create trusts rather than wills. After all, don’t they both simply designate what happens to your assets? Also, don’t will executors and trust trustees essentially serve the same purpose? While there are certainly many similarities between these two, there are many estate goals that are achievable with a trust and not a will. You may be able to use the same person as the executor of your estate and the trustee of additional assets, but you’ll only get the following benefits if you create a trust:
- Avoids the probate process. This greatly simplifies estate administration.
- Provides protection against creditors.
- Can save significant amounts on estate taxes.
- Avoid disruption of government benefits.
- Monetary growth via interest accumulation.
- Protects various assets (e.g., money, property, insurance, vehicles).
- Prevent a second spouse from interfering with children’s inheritance.
- Control when immature or untrustworthy heirs receive assets.
If your goals for estate planning are to minimize estate taxes, increase what you leave behind, make life easier right now, or even protect heirs from themselves, creating a trust is a great way to achieve them. This process won’t necessarily keep your estate out of the Surrogate’s court (i.e., probate court), but it can simplify the administration of your estate. However, it’s important that you seek the help of an experienced NYC estate lawyer when creating your trust. While you’re not legally required to do so, there’s no reason to forego legal advice since we offer free consultations at Marchese & Maynard, LLP.
Do You Need an Estates Attorney in New York for Trusts?
An estate lawyer in New York City can help you in more ways than you think. Do you want to ensure your surviving spouse doesn’t cut your children from a first marriage out of your inheritance? Are you worried about what will happen to your business after you’re gone? Do you simply want to make sure all your affairs are in order so your loved ones don’t have to deal with difficulties later? Regardless of your unique needs, a legal professional can prove invaluable. With all the do-it-yourself options available, however, do you really need a legal professional to create a trust?
The truth is that simple trusts can often be drafted by individuals with little to no legal experience. However, this is only the case with the most basic estates. You should only take this approach if you have minimal assets and the instructions for your trust are straightforward. Even in this situation, though, you should have an NYC trust attorney review the documents. Do-it-yourself legal form websites may seem helpful, but legal professionals warn against them. The simplest of mistakes can invalidate your trust and leave estate assets you designated for a certain purpose exposed to the Surrogate’s Court. Let our law firm ensure you’ve got everything in order.
For more complex estates, however, it’s important that work with an estate attorney from the start. Multiple beneficiaries, extensive assets, and complicated directives can be difficult to convey properly in legal documents. If you make a mistake, it could be your executor distributing assets rather than your trustee — which means your trust assets will be treated as any other property in probate. Even worse, this can result in losing money due to estate taxes. Don’t risk your assets by foregoing legal advice. Schedule your free consultation with Marchese & Maynard, LLP today.
Contact a Trusts Lawyer in NYC Today
You’ve spent a lifetime accruing assets, but if there’s one truth in this life, it’s that we’ll all leave these assets behind at some point. When this happens, it’s important that your hard work benefits those who you feel deserve it. A properly drafted estate plan is one of the best ways to do this, and including trusts in this planning can prove extremely advantageous to your beneficiaries. However, a simple mistake can invalidate this legal document. This could result in your assets entering the probate process, and your family members and other designated inheritors may not get what you intended.
At Marchese & Maynard, LLP, we strive to help people avoid such an outcome. Our estate lawyers ensure our clients’ wishes are respected once they pass on. This means using our in-depth knowledge to protect your assets, avoid probate when possible, and minimize the risk of estate litigation. While you certainly have the option of creating a trust on your own — particularly when you have fewer assets — it’s still wise to have a trust lawyer in NYC review any documents to ensure validity. Contact us today by calling 646-362-8600 to schedule a free consultation. We’re here to help with all your estate planning needs.