Minneapolis Trust Attorneys
Experienced Estate Planning Guidance in St. Paul and Throughout Minnesota
There is a persistent misconception that a “trust” is an overly complex financial arrangement reserved for those with vast estates and millions in wealth. The truth is that trusts are an extremely effective estate planning tool that helps people from all backgrounds protect their assets, loved ones, and legacies.
Our Minneapolis trust lawyers at Guttman Law can help you create an estate plan or assist with updating existing documents. We are extensively familiar with all types of trusts and can identify the tools that can help you achieve your estate planning objectives.
The Important Differences Between Trusts and Wills
A last will and testament enables you to name beneficiaries to your property, a guardian for your minor children, and a personal representative to manage your estate. While a will is an important piece of an estate plan, trusts also allow you to name beneficiaries to your assets and confer several significant advantages. In a trust, a settlor (the person creating the trust) authorizes a trustee to hold and manage assets for beneficiaries.
Benefits of trusts include:
- Privacy. Contents of a will are a matter of public record, meaning that anyone can look into your financial affairs and any court entanglements that result after you pass away. Trusts are entirely private.
- Avoidance of Probate. When someone passes away, their estate must be settled in probate court. This expensive and sometimes-protracted process involves inventorying assets and calculating outstanding debts. Property can potentially be liquidated to pay creditors, and there can be objections to the validity of the deceased’s will can derail the process and necessitate litigation. Assets placed in trusts avoid probate and are thus generally protected from objections, lawsuits, and creditor claims.
- Increased Flexibility. Assets named in a will must be distributed to named beneficiaries at the conclusion of the probate process. Trusts are far more flexible and allow you to define conditions for when assets are given to beneficiaries. A successor trustee assigned to manage the affairs of the trust can handle these disbursements even after you are gone.
- Tax Efficiency. Especially large estates in Minnesota can be subject to federal estate taxes when they are passed on through a will. By placing assets in trusts, you can reduce the impact of these taxes.
Types of Trusts
Trusts are highly customizable and can be tailored to suit a variety of objectives. One of the most popular types of trusts is the revocable living trust. This powerful estate planning tool allows you to manage assets in the trust while you are alive. When you become incapacitated or pass away, a named successor trustee steps in to take control of the assets and distribute them in accordance with your final wishes. Because the trust is “revocable,” you also have the ability to terminate the arrangement at any time.
Irrevocable trusts are more inflexible in that they cannot be modified or revoked after being implemented. However, irrevocable trusts can assist you with estate tax avoidance, wealth preservation, and certain types of healthcare planning.
Certain types of trusts can also be designed for families looking to provide for a loved one with special needs. Those with special needs typically rely on government benefits with strict income and asset limits. Special needs trusts hold assets and funds for these loved ones without jeopardizing their eligibility for benefits.
Our Minneapolis trust attorneys can assist you with exploring all of your estate planning options. Our experienced team of lawyers at Guttman Law can also serve as your trust administrators. We are familiar with how to efficiently manage all types of trusts and can work to protect you and your loved ones' interests.