Lafayette, LA Trust Lawyer
At Theus Law Offices, a trust lawyer Lafayette LA residents highly recommend, we have decades of specialized experience customizing estate plans for families and individuals in Acadiana. In a trust-based estate plan, a living trust is the centerpiece of the estate plan. Trust-based estate plans are often designed to protect family assets for life and to simplify distributions to loved ones who will later benefit from your legacy. A will-based estate plan, where a Last Will and Testament is the center-piece of the estate plan is appropriate in some events, but provides zero asset protection during life. A will-based estate plan also does not avoid nursing home poverty, or the administrative burden and cost of probate (which costs double for a married couple). If your goal is to protect assets from lawsuits or nursing home costs, or to avoid the hassle and expense of a probate, you should consult with an experienced Lafayette, LA trust attorney.
What is a Trust?
It is a common misconception that only wealthy people use trusts for estate planning and asset protection. This is not true. Trusts as used by both wealthy and non-wealthy families to achieve common asset protection and estate planning goals. A trust, like a custom suit, can and should be tailored to the unique circumstances of each client. A trust is a tool that can serve any number of purposes, including a quick and efficient transition of assets to a spouse or children (bypassing the probate process), managing tricky dynamics among family members, protecting assets and legacies from unforeseeable claims, debts, disabilities, or divorce, and avoiding nursing home poverty. To learn more about the many benefits of trust planning for you and your family, contact a specialized Lafayette, LA trust lawyer from Theus Law Offices.
Understanding the Basics of Trusts
A trust is a legal agreement that establishes rules for the management of your assets. After the trust agreement is signed, assets are placed into the trust, which is referred to as “trust funding.” Thereafter, the trust is often maintained for your benefit for the rest of your life and, thereafter, assets are distributed to your beneficiaries pursuant to your instructions. There are two kinds of trusts: (1) testamentary trusts (which are trust created upon death by a last will and testament); and (2) living trusts (which are trusts create during life by or for the benefit of a settlor). The term “settlor” refers to the person that creates a trust. The settlor can also be a trustee and a beneficiary of their own trust. Trusts may be either revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust can be amended, modified, or revoked at any time and for any reason by the settlor. An irrevocable trust can also be amended or modified to the extent reserved by the settlor, but the trust itself cannot be revoked. It is quite common for a settlor to reserve the power in an irrevocable trust to add or remove beneficiaries or modify their rights.
Living Trust Benefits
A common goal of a living trust is to avoid the cost and administrative burden of probate, as well as control the disposition of assets and legacies at death. A trust often will serve as a “will substitute” because a will becomes unnecessary with a properly funded trust. Trusts can create many tax benefits, including a step-up in the tax-basis of trust assets allowing all assets of the trust to be sold tax-free following the death of the settlor. This step-up in tax-basis is not automatic and is only available for trusts specially designed as “grantor” trusts.
Trusts are like ice-cream. There are a million different flavors. There is no cookie-cutter template for trust design, which should be tailored to the particular needs and circumstances of each client. If you have an interest in learning more about trust planning, a trust lawyer in Lafayette, LA, certified as an estate planning specialist by the Louisiana State Board of Legal Specialization, from Theus Law Offices stands ready to assist you with a guided conversation about your legal options.
Among the many potential benefits of a living trust are the following:
- Avoiding capital gains tax upon the sale of assets following the death of a settlor
- Maintaining control of hard-earned assets
- Avoiding the crushing cost of long-term care
- Bypassing the probate process to avoid the cost and administration of a Louisiana succession
- Maintaining privacy to avoid the necessary publication of assets of a decedent as part of the probate process
- Establishing rules for the ultimate timing and disposition of your assets to your selected beneficiaries
- Toggling off control or access to assets in the event of certain life events, such as remarriage, death, or divorce
Do You Really Need a Trust?
A Living Trust is not a “one-size fits all” solution to estate planning goals. A trust may be an appropriate solution if you have concerns about asset protection, probate avoidance, maintaining control of assets, long-term care or Medicaid planning, remarriage or asset protection concerns for a surviving spouse, or protecting children from their own debts, disabilities or divorce. To learn more about whether trust planning is appropriate for you or your family, contact a living trust attorney in Lafayette, LA at Theus Law Offices.
Contact Theus Law Offices Today
A Lafayette, LA trust attorney at Theus Law Offices stands ready to assist you in the design, preparation, and implementation of a custom-designed trust-based estate plan. As living trust attorneys, Theus Law Offices has helped countless individuals and families protect everything they own and everyone they love. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced living trust lawyer in Lafayette, LA, contact Theus Law Offices today!