Client Focused. Results Driven.
Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith

Trusts Lawyers in Northern Kentucky

Helping Clients Maintain Control Over Their Assets and Preserve Generational Wealth

When you’re creating an estate plan, it’s important to be aware of all the options to determine the best strategy. How you set up your estate plan can impact everything from how long it takes your beneficiaries to be able to access their inheritances to how much your estate is charged in taxes. In many cases, setting up a trust can preserve your assets and ensure they get where you intended.

If you’re interested in using a trust as part of your estate plan or you already have a trust you need to make changes to, the estate planning attorneys at the Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC, can help. We focus on helping our clients understand the benefits of using trusts as part of their estate plans and ensure that any trusts they choose to set up reflect their needs and goals for their assets.

What Are the Different Types of Trusts?

There are many types of specialized trusts, but they are separated into two main categories:

  •  Revocable trust: A revocable trust can be changed at any time during the grantor’s life. The grantor is the person who establishes the trust. After the grantor has passed away, the trust cannot be changed.
  • Irrevocable trust: An irrevocable trust generally cannot be changed once it has been established, even if the grantor wishes to. There are only a few very specific circumstances, such as fraud, that can alter or terminate an irrevocable trust.

Revocable living trusts are used for most basic estate planning purposes because of their ease of use and flexibility to change. However, some of the more specific trust types may be applicable to your situation. A special needs trust can ensure that a child with disabilities is able to be provided for without affecting their eligibility for assistance programs, and a spendthrift trust can provide more protection if you’re worried about a loved one making poor financial decisions with their inheritance. To find out which trust is the right choice for your situation, you’ll need to speak with an estate planning attorney.

Does a Trust Have to Go Through Probate?

One of the main advantages of trusts is that any assets contained in the trust aren’t subject to probate. This is because assets in a trust aren’t considered part of your personal estate. Instead, it transfers ownership of the assets into a completely separate legal entity. Instead of having to go through the probate process and be subject to settlement of the estate, the assets in the trust can immediately be accessed by the trustee and distributed to the beneficiaries as outlined in the terms. This ensures that the beneficiaries are able to access the assets as soon as possible, and they don’t have to worry about the assets being taken to settle any of the estate’s debts.

Can a Trust Be Contested?

A trust cannot be contested in the same way that a will can because it doesn’t go through probate. However, it is possible for a trust to be challenged through a lawsuit. This usually only happens if there are questions about whether the trust was created through fraudulent means or someone was disinherited. Challenging a trust

What Are the Trustee’s Responsibilities?

The trustee is the person who is in charge of administering the trust. They have a fiduciary duty to act and make decisions that are in the best interests of the beneficiaries, and they must avoid anything that could be deemed a conflict of interest. Depending on the type and structure of the trust, they may be responsible for investing and managing assets, keeping detailed records for accounting purposes, and distributing the assets to the named beneficiaries.

How Do I Make Changes to a Trust?

If you have a revocable trust set up and you want to make changes, the first thing to do is meet with an estate planning attorney. They can ensure you understand what changes are allowed and what the implications of making those changes are. For example, if a change causes your child to be disinherited, your attorney can discuss how and whether this increases the chances of the trust being challenged and what you can do to be proactive in minimizing this risk.

When you’re ready to make the change, it’s as simple as drafting an amendment or restatement, depending on how major the changes are. In some cases, you may be required to notify the trustee and beneficiary of the change.

Estate planning can be an overwhelming process if you’re trying to do it on your own. There are different tools available that may or may not be in your best interests, depending on your situation, and it can be difficult to make decisions about how you want to proceed. When you need an experienced estate planning and trust attorney to help you understand your options and set up trusts to protect your assets, Law Offices of Shannon C. Smith, PLLC, can help. Call our office today at 859-667-1204 to find out more about our services.