Wills & Trusts

Estate planning is a process that should ideally start when you are still fairly young, and continue throughout your life. For most people, the first step is having a simple Last Will and Testament put in place, and then from there, add additional options over time. As your estate grows and evolves with you and your family, you will need to have trusts in place to help avoid probate, ensure privacy, prevent contest, protect your assets, minimize expenses, and minimize/defer death tax exposure. Learn more about Wills and trusts to see what type of testamentary planning you may benefit you and your family.

What is Will?

Will is the most basic form of estate planning that’s needed. Even very complex estate plans, require a Will to be present in most cases since it serves as  ideal way to complete certain tasks. Some activities that Will can be used for include:

Name Guardians – If you have minor children, the Will is the way that you can specify who you would like to become their guardians.

Name an Executor – You can name the executor of your estate in your Will so that the proper person is responsible for collecting, managing and distributing your assets. Often, the executor is also responsible for making tax-advantageous elections for your estate and beneficiaries.

Testamentary Trusts – You can use the Will to create trusts. For example, the Will could state that all assets not covered by other estate planning will go into a trust for your descendants.

What is Trust?

Trust is a legal entity in which you can place certain assets to accomplish specific goals. There are many different types of trusts, each used for different purpose. The following are some of the most common types of trusts:

Revocable Trust – This is a trust that you can make changes to at any time, or even be revoked the trust entirely. It is used for testamentary planning to avoid or ease the process of probate.

Irrevocable Trust – Most often used for lifetime planning, involving gifting, business planning and succession, wealth succession, pre-marital planning, asset protection and planning for lifetime events (such as children’s marriages, new grandchildren, new business ventures, loss of job or medical insurance, retirement)

Special Needs Trust – created to help provide care for  chronically disabled individuals (children, parents, siblings). Can be created during lifetime or at death.

Generation Skipping Trust – If you want to pass money down to your grandchildren, or other heirs at least two generations away, this type of trust can help accomplish that goal while bringing significant tax savings.

Charitable Trust – You can leave an income stream to a specific charity in a trust and leave the remainder for your descendants (or the other way around) to take advantage of charitable income tax deductions or estate tax deductions.

Business succession trust –  used to centralize control over family business or assets.

Life insurance trust – created to hold a policy on your life (or a policy on a life of another individual). This trust presents an effective way to give your heirs easy access to cash at you death to payfor your death taxes or to ensure available liquidity if you have a relatively illiquid estate and worry about a fire sale at death.

There are many other types of trusts to consider based on your specific circumstances, goals and needs. Whether you need to have a Will created, a trust created, or both, we are here for you. Please contact us at 212-596-7039 to speak with an attorney and get the estate planning help you need.

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