A Long Island Trust Lawyer to Help You Plan for the Future and Protect Assets
Trusts are an essential estate planning tool that can be used by people and families in a variety of ways to plan for the future and protect their assets. At Davidow, Davidow, Siegel & Stern, we have many decades of combined experience creating and administering trusts for clients across Long Island and beyond. An experienced Long Island trust lawyer knows how to make the most of these and other estate planning tools to accomplish your unique goals.
How Trusts Work
Trusts are an increasingly popular method of estate planning, in part because of some of the benefits they offer when compared to wills. Trusts often offer more flexibility and potential tax benefits. They also can avoid probate and protect assets from long-term care.
A living trust is created while the owner is still alive. Those assets are then overseen by a trustee. Trusts can be revocable or irrevocable depending on the purpose of the trust. The trust can be designed in a way that the trustor/grantor/settlor (the person creating the trust) continues to have the full use of the assets or property while he or she is alive and the ability to designate what should happen with them when the person passes away.
A will, on the other hand, is a legal document in which a person details how his or her assets will be distributed at death. The will also names an executor, who is tasked with ensuring that creditors are paid and that the terms of the will are carried out. At death, the will is probated, that is, goes through a court administration which may or may not be cost effective.
The irrevocable trust option is particularly helpful for nursing home and in-home care planning purposes. Trusts are often used to transfer assets in order to ensure that the person creating the trust is eligible for valuable Medicaid benefits. Our Long Island trust lawyer team has particular experience assisting clients in this kind of planning.
Trusts also often provide an additional layer of asset protection. If you transfer property to a loved one via a trust, his or her creditors generally cannot get at that property.
Types of Trusts
Trusts generally fall into two categories.
- Revocable: As the name suggests, the person creating the trust can amend or revoke it at any time to take back some or all of the assets or update how the assets will be transferred upon their death.
- Irrevocable: The trust cannot be revoked by the person that creates it, but still may allow certain alterations, depending on the purpose of the trust.
The choice between a revocable and irrevocable trust can have immediate tax consequences. This is one of the reasons why it is vital to talk with a seasoned Long Island trust lawyer at our firm to understand the pros and cons of each option.
Living trusts can be combined with wills to create a comprehensive estate plan.
Other forms of trusts are designed for more specific situations.
- Special Needs Trusts: These trusts are created to distribute assets to a person who receives government benefits, such as SSI, Medicaid and other assistance, without making the person financially ineligible to continue receiving those benefits.
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts: These are helpful tools that can prevent life insurance proceeds from being watered down by estate taxes. The trustor/grantor/settlor transfers the life insurance policy to the trust and sets the rules for distribution.
- Charitable Trusts: These tax-deductible trusts are designed to benefit charitable organizations. While at the same time you retain certain rights and benefits over the trust assets. The beneficiary must qualify as a charitable organization under federal law in order for the person creating the trust to get the tax benefit.
- Medicaid trusts are created to protect your assets from Medicaid.
A Long Island trust lawyer at DDSS can walk you through the options and consider the best route for you and your family. Our attorneys can also help you build a comprehensive estate plan and get the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your loved ones will be provided for.
Creating the Trust With An Experienced Long Island Trust Lawyer
To get the benefits of a trust, you first have to create the trust.
A trust is legally established when you sign an agreement transferring assets to the trustee. The trust agreement will also state whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable and identify two important parties.
- Trustee: The person or entity appointed to manage the trust, according to the terms of the agreement. The trustee is well advised to seek out our advice on handling the administration of a trust.
- Beneficiary: The person or entity who gets the property. The trust can be designed to limit access, including waiting until the beneficiary reaches a certain age.
The trust agreement will also specify how the assets are to be distributed when you pass away.
A Long Island trust lawyer at our firm will take the time to understand your personal situation and needs and structure the trust in a way that is designed to meet your specific goals.
Contact a Long Island Trust Lawyer at DDSS Today to Learn More
If you or a loved one is looking to plan for the future and protect your assets, DDSS can help. We are pleased to meet with clients in person, via Zoom, FaceTime, and other video conferencing tools. Call us, contact us online, or use the live chat function to schedule a consultation with a Long Island trust lawyer today.