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Family Trust Lawyers Serving Grand Rapids & West Michigan

Asset Protection & Family Trust Planning

A family trust can make it possible to provide for your loved ones by gradually giving them portions of your estate, either while you are alive or after your death. The benefit to giving your assets to your loved ones through a family trust rather than a will or the probate process is the tax breaks that your trust, a taxable entity, can receive. With a family trust, the trustee, who is generally an attorney or a financial advisor, is tasked with keeping the assets safe and distributing them to the beneficiaries as determined by the creator of the trust, known as the settlor.

What is a Family Trust?

A family trust is used to hold assets, rather than allowing those assets to remain in the personal possession of the settlor. This can protect those assets from creditors if the settlor declares bankruptcy. The settlor has the right to determine the family trust’s distribution rules, which state when each beneficiary receives his or her share of the assets, how much he or she receives, and any circumstances that void his or her eligibility to receive them.

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Which Type of Trust is Best for You?

Revocable Living Trust

A basic trust that allows you to remain in control of your assets, while protecting your loved ones in the event of your death or disability.

Irrevocable Asset Protection Trust

A trust which offers some protection from creditors, while allowing you to shield assets for the purpose of collecting Medicare.

Testamentary Trust

Often referred to as inter-vivos, this type of trust is created through a will and goes into effect after your death.

Special Needs Trust

This can be used to shelter assets to ensure Medicaid eligibility in the event you or one of your children is disabled.

Steps to Creating a Family Trust

Before you speak with a lawyer about creating a family trust, familiarize yourself with the steps of the process, as outlined below.

  1. Determine which assets you want to include in your family trust. They can include your home, your personal property, vehicles, or any other asset you own. You need to obtain an accurate appraisal of each asset’s value when entering them into the trust.
  2. Determine your beneficiaries. These are the individuals who will receive payment from the trust.
  3. Determine how you want the assets to be distributed to your beneficiaries, including any restrictions on how they are to use their income from the trust.
  4. Contact an experienced family trust attorney to create your family trust. A trust can receive certain tax breaks, but these tax breaks are dependent on how the trust is set up. Your lawyer can explain each family trust structure and its benefits to you to help you determine the right one for your needs.
  5. Your attorney will then draft your trust. If you approve of its language, you and your lawyer sign it and it becomes official.

Work with a Family Trust Lawyer

Contact Carrier Law today to schedule your initial legal consultation with a member of our firm who can answer your questions about creating a family trust and guide you through this legal process.

(616) 361-8400

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