Individuals and families with substantial assets might face heavy tax liability if they do not engage in smart estate planning. An irrevocable trust could be a key element in an overall strategy. At Donald R. Fuller, Jr., PLLC, I am a Hickory, NC irrevocable trust attorney who creates sound legal instruments to limit tax exposure, fund charitable causes and assist with planning for long-term care.
An irrevocable trust is a legal instrument that can hold and distribute assets, but usually cannot be changed or revised. There might be some instances where all beneficiaries of an irrevocable trust agree to alter the terms, but you should not create an irrevocable trust if you think there is a possibility that you will change your mind about it at any time in the future. You can keep your options open by establishing a revocable trust, sometimes known as a living trust, which can be revised or dissolved at any time. However, a revocable trust does not offer the same type of tax benefit because the funds remain in your control. Whether you’re looking for a lawyer to create a living trust or you wish to reap the benefits associated with an irrevocable trust, my firm can help.
Individuals and families who are concerned that their estate will be large enough to incur taxes frequently set up irrevocable trusts to lower the value of their estate. As an experienced North Carolina estate planning attorney, I can explain how you can use an irrevocable trust so that your wealth is distributed according to your wishes rather than sent to the government. People also create irrevocable trusts to reduce the amount they own in order to lessen tax exposure or maintain eligibility for government programs such as Medicare.
People who are unfamiliar with trusts often have the following questions:
Who owns the assets?
Once you place assets in an irrevocable trust, the trust owns that property, not you. However, you could draft the trust so that you are allowed to use the asset for the remainder of your life.
What does a trustee do?
The trustee has a legal duty to see that the instructions left by the trust grantor are carried out. He or she controls the assets and must act in accordance with the trust’s terms. You may choose to be the trustee of an instrument you have created while naming a contingent trustee to serve in that role if you are unable to for some reason.
What happens when the grantor dies?
The trust can continue on when the grantor dies, or the grantor might include language requiring the trust be dissolved with all remaining assets distributed to a named beneficiary upon their passing.
Whether you’re looking to endow a charitable trust, seeking to solidify funding for long-term care or accomplish any other objective, my firm will guide you through the process of creating an irrevocable trust. At the outset, you should gather documents addressing the assets that you would like to place into the trust. I also assist people who intend to set up an irrevocable testamentary trust that will go into effect upon their death. This allows individuals to establish conditions regarding when assets are distributed to beneficiaries and how they can be used.
Donald R. Fuller, Jr., PLLC creates irrevocable trusts and other estate planning instruments for North Carolina residents. For a consultation, please call 828-639-8188 or contact me online. My office is in Hickory.