Protecting Your Assets with A Trust
The appropriate trust for your needs depends on your individual circumstances. There are many types of trusts with special tax rules that must be followed for the trust to be valid under federal and Pennsylvania law.
Why Do I Need A Trust?
In Pennsylvania, anyone with an estate containing more than $50,000 in assets will benefit from setting up a living trust. This is because only “small” estates, which Pennsylvania defines as estates of less than $50,000 excluding real estate and funeral expenses, are able to be settled without going through the normal probate process, which is typically long and expensive. Even if you have a will that outlines who should receive your assets, the will and its directions will merely be included in the probate process. Having a will does not itself allow your estate to bypass probate. However, assets in a trust do not have to go through probate.
Avoiding probate is reason enough to create a living trust. It cuts down on the work your executor will need to do after your death and simplifies the distribution of your assets.
Different Types of Trusts
The living trust is the most common type of trust that suits the general population, but others may be appropriate depending on your unique needs and circumstances. Our Berks County estate planning attorneys are experienced in working with living trusts, special needs trusts, asset protection trusts1, and more.
When creating any trust, you must choose a trustee to manage the trust’s assets for the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are the people who will eventually inherit assets from the trust, whether they are provided income over time or the principal is ultimately distributed to them.
Our firm will work with you to decide who the best choice of trustee may be for you. Our estate plans include detailed instructions for your trustee and beneficiaries to ensure your assets are ultimately managed and disbursed as you see fit. We take a personal approach to every case. We will consider all aspects of your family circumstances and take the time to explain how a trust can protect your investments for your loved ones well into the future.
Why Choose a Living Trust?
Living trusts are the most common form of trust included in an estate plan. Living trusts are revocable. This means that the terms of the trust agreement can be changed at any time prior to your death if you decide they should be different. You may act as the trustee for your own living trust and manage your assets that you’ve placed in the trust during your lifetime. If you choose to do this, you need to name a successor trustee who will manage and distribute the assets after your death.
You can include a provision in your will stating that any assets not placed into the trust that you own at your death will be immediately transferred into the trust, so they avoid going through probate. Because these assets are “poured” into your living trust, it is sometimes called a “pour-over” trust provision.
Connect with Berks County Trust Attorneys Today
Our attorneys are here to advise you on all matters related to setting up and managing a trust in Wyomissing and Hamburg. Call us today at (610) 562-2000 or use the form below.