There are many important elements of trusts and estates law. The right plan for you could rely on a wide variety of tools, from living trusts, to pour-over wills, to planned charitable giving. However, before you explore any of these options, you should discuss your unique circumstances with a qualified legal professional.
Your legal counsel can do more than simply draft a will. A Boston trusts and estates lawyer could guide you through the entire process of crafting an estate plan that suits your needs and ensure that it is administered smoothly. We can also provide valuable advice regarding the probate process, business succession plans, and trust administration and address any of your concerns about these options.
This process begins with you: your situation, your assets, your values, your hopes, and the protections you desire to put in place. Our group of skilled attorneys at TEAM Estate Planning begin each case with thorough investigations and interviews so we can help you get financially organized and ready to make these important decisions.
There are several different forms of trusts available under state law in Massachusetts. While some of these examples may be familiar, others are more uncommon and primarily used in limited scenarios.
In Boston, a revocable trust can be easily updated or modified during the course of the grantor’s life. These changes could involve the assets in the trust or the beneficiaries, and it is possible to make these changes without court approval or notifying the beneficiaries. You may hear of revocable trusts called “Living Trusts.”
Much like a will, you can use a living trust as a way to select who receives property when you die. If you place specific assets into a trust, you can leave instructions to your trustee for what happens to the trust property after your death. There are many advantages to using both a living trust and a will in your estate plans.
One of the most important examples of how a Living Trust complements a will is that a Living Trust helps protect you while you are alive, and a will only has an effect after you die. A Living Trust can set out how a trustee could protect your assets and manage the trust if you ever become incapacitated or unable to make decisions on your own. That’s why our TEAM Estate Planning philosophy includes protecting you while you are alive as well as protecting your legacy after you die.
Irrevocable trusts differ from revocable trusts in that they are much more difficult to alter once they have been set up. These trusts have some important tax benefits, making their inflexibility worth it in many cases. Once an individual places an asset into an irrevocable trust, an independent trustee controls the asset according to the terms of the trust. Changing the terms of these trusts is difficult and requires court approval, but are an important piece of sophisticated estate plans.
Some trusts are meant to provide for charitable endeavors that supported the donor’s values and were close to the trustor’s heart. There are two types of charitable trusts: leads trusts and remainder trusts. A charitable leads trust operates for a set time, often for the lifetime of the trust creator. During that period, payments are made to a charitable organization, and the remainder of the trust is given to a family member or other beneficiary of the trustor at the end of that period.
Remainder charitable trusts are effectively the opposite of charitable lead trusts. With these trusts, an individual, often the trustor, receives income from the trust until a set time. At the end of that period, the remainder of the trust is gifted to a charitable organization. A qualified Boston lawyer could further explain the differences between these types of charitable trusts.
A trusts and estates lawyer in Boston could do more than draft trust documents. A skilled attorney could help you develop a strong estate plan and handle other key aspects of your estate as well. Our TEAM Estate Planning philosophy emphasizes an estate plan that protects you during your lifetime as well as after you die.
One of the most important services of a trusts and estates lawyer can provide is the administration of a trust. Administering a trust when the creator has passed away or become incapacitated can be challenging for a person without a legal background. A seasoned attorney could advise a trustee on their rights and ensure that they uphold their duty within the bounds of the law.
There are many steps that go into developing a solid estate plan, especially if you require the use of trusts. However, the process to create a comprehensive plan is complex, and any mistakes could have a severe impact on how your assets are distributed after your passing.
You should not take on the risks and challenges of making your own estate plan, and a Boston trusts and estates lawyer could work diligently to ensure that you are satisfied with your final plan. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more.