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Where Can I Find a Lawyer for My Trust Fund? – Morgan & Morgan

Where Can I Find a Lawyer for My Trust Fund?

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Where Can I Find a Lawyer for My Trust Fund?

A lawyer specialized in trust and estate matters can help with reducing estate taxes, designating heirs for your assets, and avoiding probate. If you are wondering how you can find a lawyer for your trust fund, consider asking family, friends, and business associates for referrals. Searching the internet for trust fund lawyers near you can also yield results. 

Creating a trust fund can leave a lasting legacy for your loved ones and support charitable causes close to your heart. Morgan & Morgan’s experienced trust fund attorneys can help create the legacy you envision and protect your hard-earned assets. Contact us now for free advice on how to get started. 

What Is a Trust Fund?

Trust funds are separate legal entities that can hold property, money, stocks, or even businesses as assets. Trust funds can be set up for various reasons but are typically utilized as estate-planning tools benefiting individuals, an organization, or future generations. By creating a trust fund, individuals formally state how their assets will be gathered and distributed in the future. 

The three parties making up a trust are:

  • The grantor
  • The beneficiary or beneficiaries
  • The trustee or trustees

The “grantor” or “settlor” is the person donating the assets and creating the trust. The individual benefitting from the trust is the “beneficiary”. However, the assets do not belong to the beneficiary. The trust will be managed by the “trustee,” according to the grantor’s wishes. Grantors are free to assign a professional, corporation, relative, or even a close friend as a trustee. They could also designate several trustees. 

Common Types of Trust Funds

Trust funds generally fall into two categories: those in effect while you are alive and those enacted after you have passed away. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. Revocable trusts can be changed or dissolved by the grantor while alive. 

Revocable living trusts, for example, generally convert into an irrevocable trust when the grantor passes away. It is not possible to alter irrevocable trusts once they are created. Irrevocable trusts can protect assets from creditors and tend to have more tax benefits than revocable trusts. Examples of popular trusts include:

Living Trusts

According to Forbes, living trusts are the most popular type of trust fund. With a living trust, assets are placed in trust for your benefit while you are alive, and provisions determine what happens to these assets when you pass away. Most living trusts are “revocable,” meaning that you can cancel or change them at any time. 

Special Needs Trusts

A special needs trust can be an excellent way to plan for the future of a loved one with special needs. The trust allows the beneficiary access to funds without potentially losing benefits from public assistance programs, such as Social Security. Public assistance is subject to income and asset restrictions. However, money and assets held in a special needs trust do not affect an individual’s eligibility for public assistance.

Spendthrift Trusts

Spendthrift trusts are irrevocable and can either be testamentary or living. The purpose of the trust is to limit a beneficiary’s access to assets contained in the trust. Spendthrift trusts can be useful when the grantor is concerned about a beneficiary or creditors accessing the trust and diminishing the principal. However, not all states recognize spendthrift provisions.

Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts

Establishing a Medicaid trust can help with preserving assets. Money and assets placed in this irrevocable trust will not count against you for Medicaid eligibility.

The Benefits of Trust Funds

Trust funds can have many benefits for grantors and beneficiaries. Above all, setting up one or several trusts can ensure that your estate is distributed as you see fit, whether to your family, loved ones, or any charities you wish to support. Other notable benefits include:

  • Trust funds are private 
  • Trust funds can shield your assets from potential litigation and probate expenses
  • Some trust funds provide tax benefits 
  • Trusts can provide a monthly allowance for a minor
  • Trust funds, unlike wills, can cover life insurance and retirement plans 
  • A trust can designate assets for future generations
  • A trustee can act on your behalf should you become incapacitated

When to Consider a Trust Fund

A trust can be a useful estate planning tool for anyone who owns property and assets. However, if you have a family, a child with special needs, or considerable assets, a trust fund can benefit you and your loved ones in many ways. Trusts can be an excellent tool to help avoid probate and protect assets for children and grandchildren. You can also use trusts to lower the estate tax burden for beneficiaries.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Setting up a Trust Fund?

You could potentially create a trust fund on your own. However, there can be pitfalls with the do-it-yourself approach. A minor mistake on the document could invalidate your trust. Moreover, when funds are not adequately allocated, a trust could be useless for the beneficiaries. If you are considering creating a trust fund, a trust lawyer can fund the trust correctly and ensure that all the paperwork is legally valid. In the following circumstances, working with a lawyer can be vital:

  • You have a dependent relative or child with special needs
  • You are unsure about how to fund the trust
  • You have significant assets 
  • You want to include provisions about how or when beneficiaries receive assets

Even if your trust is relatively straightforward, consider seeking advice from an experienced trust fund lawyer who can advise you of state-specific laws or review the trust you created. Working with a trust attorney can be a good investment and save you and your family money in the long term.  

How Do You Find a Lawyer for Your Trust Fund? 

While estate planning may not be the most preferred topic of choice for small talk, consider asking friends and family members for attorney referrals. You could also search online databases such as Avvo and Martindale for estate and trust fund attorneys. 

What to Look for in a Trust Fund Attorney

Most individuals needing help with estate planning would be well-served by a generalist who can draft a will, designate powers of attorney, and set up a basic trust. However, if you have specific needs, such as maximizing benefits from Medicaid, you may wish to speak to an attorney who specializes in elder law, for example. In any case, your attorney should have experience with all kinds of trust funds and be able to advise you comprehensively. They should also:

  • Be enthusiastic and motivated to help you
  • Be eager to answer your questions and concerns
  • Have an office near you
  • Have good client reviews

A large law firm such as Morgan & Morgan can draw on the expertise of hundreds of lawyers and help you find a good fit for your specific estate planning and trust fund needs.

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FAQ

Morgan & Morgan

  • How Can a Trust Fund Attorney Help Me?

    A trust fund attorney can assist with estate planning needs and set up the necessary paperwork to create a trust fund. Trusts can help your family receive their inheritance promptly by avoiding probate and potentially reduce the tax burden. Since there are several types of trusts, a knowledgeable attorney can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of trusts, such as:

    • Revocable trusts
    • Irrevocable trusts
    • Asset protection trusts
    • Special needs trusts
    • Credit shelter trusts
    • Generation-skipping trusts 

    Having an experienced attorney by your side will ensure that all trust documents are completed correctly and that your trust is valid according to the law. An experienced trust fund attorney can also make suggestions for updating or improving your estate plan. 

    Trust Administration After Your Passing

    A trust attorney can assist with all types of trust administration after you pass away, which can include but is not limited to:

    • Notifying beneficiaries of your death
    • Informing government entities and organizations of your passing
    • Assessing property values
    • Settling all outstanding debts and bills
    • Filing taxes
    • Reporting gains and losses
    • Distributing of assets to beneficiaries
    • Litigating any contests to the trust 

    Most importantly, working with a committed trust attorney gives you peace of mind that your loved ones will receive the trust’s assets according to your wishes. A seasoned trust fund attorney knows how to handle the necessary administrative tasks and protect your interests and those of your family. They can also provide provisions that protect your legacy from beneficiaries who might squander or misuse the inheritance. 

  • What Is a Marital Trust?

    One spouse typically creates a marital trust to benefit the other. When the grantor, the first spouse, dies, the surviving spouse receives the assets held in the trust. A marital trust can help the surviving spouse avoid paying estate taxes on the assets. However, the surviving spouse’s heirs will most likely be responsible for paying estate taxes when they receive the assets. 

  • Can I Set up a Trust Fund on My Own?

    Although not necessarily advisable, you could potentially create a simple trust on your own with a template. A living trust document, for example, should contain:

    1. Your name as the grantor
    2. Names of the trustee or trustees managing the trust
    3. Names of successor trustees
    4. Names of the beneficiaries of the trust
    5. How and to whom the assets will be distributed

    Once the trust document is complete, you can sign the paperwork in front of a notary public. The next step is to transfer the trust containing your assets into the trustee’s name and funding the trust. 

    Depending on the assets you wish to hold in trust, funding can be a complicated task that involves re-titling assets and requires deeds in the case of property. It is vitally important that assets are transferred correctly for your trust to be legally valid. In most cases, having an attorney handle trust matters for you can ensure your interests and legal rights remain protected at all times.

  • Can I Contest a Trust Fund?

    You could contest a trust set up by a deceased relative in much the same way as you could dispute a will. A trust can be challenged when it contains confusing or ambiguous language, for example. A trust fund could also be invalid if it does not comply with relevant state law. Other reasons to contest a trust can include:

    Undue Influence of the Grantor

    Grounds to challenge the validity of a trust fund can arise when the person who made the trust was mentally unfit or unduly influenced by another. 

    The Trustee Breached Fiduciary Duty 

    You could also contest a trust if you believe that the trustee breached their fiduciary duty, for example, by:

    • Mismanaging the trust
    • Failing to keep appropriate records
    • Self-dealing

    Challenges are typically filed by beneficiaries or those who believe they should have been named as beneficiaries in a trust. If a trust challenge is successful, the claimant could receive monetary damages. The trust could also be modified or entirely dissolved after a successful challenge. 

  • Our Trust Fund Attorneys Are Here for You

    It seems that most of us would rather avoid thinking about estate planning and making provisions for our passing. A survey by the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) revealed that a staggering 6 out of 10 Americans have no estate planning documents at all, not even a simple will. 

    We understand that trust fund and estate planning is something many would rather put off indefinitely. However, unforeseen circumstances can occur at any time. Setting up a trust fund can be an act of love that could protect your family, loved ones, and even future generations. Do not leave your legacy to chance. If you are wondering where you can find a lawyer for your trust fund, we are here to help. Call us now at (877) 537-0246 or by filling in our online form for more information.

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