At Verras Law, we help clients create trusts as part of a comprehensive estate plan. Though many people mistakenly believe that trusts are only advantageous for wealthy individuals or families, this is far from true. We have successfully created trusts for clients of varying income levels throughout Tampa Bay, Palm Harbor, and St. Petersburg. The reality is that there are a great many types of trusts, each designed for one or more specific purposes.
Spiro J. Verras founded Verras Law on the principle that everyone is likely to be more productive and successful if they have a plan for the future, and for decades he has helped his clients look ahead to fulfilling their dreams while also preparing for unexpected contingencies. Contact him today to discuss how establishing one or more trusts may be beneficial for you and your family.
What Exactly Are Trusts?
Trusts are legal arrangements in which one party, known as the trustor (aka grantor or settlor) appoints another party, known as the trustee, to “own” and manage the assets in the trust for the benefit of a beneficiary. Establishing a well-crafted, durable trust requires the assistance of a sharp, detail-oriented trust attorney.
Common Types of Trusts
There are two basic types of trusts, revocable and irrevocable; many fall under the latter category.
Revocable (“Living” Trusts) can help clients avoid probate — the process of validating a will that can be time-consuming and costly, especially if you have a high-net-worth estate. A living trust allows you to transfer ownership of the included assets to a trustee while permitting you to manage those funds during your lifetime. Because you have relinquished ownership of these funds, they no longer have to go through probate when you pass away. At that time, they will automatically transfer to your named beneficiary.
Following is a sampling of the multiple kinds of irrevocable trusts:
- Testamentary Trust — created within a will to benefit minor children
- Special Needs Trust — provides supplementary funds to a special needs relative, while simultaneously maintaining the eligibility of that relative for government benefits, like Medicaid or Social Security Disability.
- Spendthrift Trust — protects a beneficiary who is irresponsible with money or suffering from an addiction to substances or gambling from their own worst impulses, preventing them from running through a sizable inheritance too quickly.
- Medicaid Trust — maintains eligibility for Medicaid for an individual who requires long-term nursing care since very few people can afford to pay for round-the-clock nursing care at home or in a facility without it. Because there is a “look back” period for Medicaid benefits, this type of trust has to be created at least 5 years before the individual requires nursing care.
- Charitable Remainder Trust — transfers your property into a trust that will provide income for the person you name as beneficiary (typically a spouse) for a set period of time, after which a charity you name will be the final (“remainder”) beneficiary.
- Pet Trust — provides for the care of a beloved pet if the owner predeceases it. Funds to pay for food, grooming, veterinary care, toys, etc. are left for a designated trustee to use for the pet’s care. In some cases, the trustee is also the caretaker; in others, the caretaker is paid for this service by the trustee.
While you need not be wealthy to find trusts useful in planning your estate, if you do have high-net-worth assets, trusts can be extremely helpful in protecting them from excessive taxation, a divorcing spouse, creditors, or lawsuits. These asset protection trusts include:
- Family trust
- IRA trust
- Gift trust
- Grantor retained annuity /unit trust
- Generation-skipping trust
- Irrevocable life insurance trust
- Qualified personal residence trust
- Spousal lifetime access trust
No matter the size of your estate, establishing trusts is an effective way to protect your assets and provide for your loved ones safely and directly.
In addition to creating trusts for our clients, Verras Law also helps clients fulfill trust administration duties if they have been designated as a trustee for a relative or friend who has passed away. Being a trustee is a serious job. For one thing, the role is a fiduciary one, meaning that you must always work in the best interests of the beneficiary and will be held accountable for any financial mistakes or misdeeds.
Fortunately, you can count on Verras Law to guide you through every phase of the required tasks which include:
- Notifying beneficiaries of the trustor’s passing
- Inventorying and appraising trust assets
- Reviewing trust distribution obligations
- Investing trust funds conservatively
- Managing and distributing assets
- Preparing trust accountings
- Filing income tax returns
Sprio Verras has the in-depth knowledge of each type of trust to clarify any confusion you may be feeling, and the skill set to ensure that you follow the specific terms of the trust.
Contact Our Experienced Trust Attorney Today
Whether you are considering the value of constructing one or more trusts as part of your estate plan or you need some assistance as you administer a trust that you have been named to manage, Spiro Verras is the trust attorney to call. He is an accomplished trust attorney with decades of positive experience and he wants nothing more than to help you achieve your goals. Contact him now. He’s a trust attorney you can trust.
Verras Law provides trust services for clients in and around Tampa Bay, Palm Harbor, and St. Petersburg.