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Testamentary Trusts

What do you know about Testamentary Trusts?

A trust protects your assets and determines where those assets will go once you are gone. Three common types of trusts are a revocable trust, an irrevocable trust, and a testamentary trust.

Most trusts, like revocable and irrevocable trusts, are made and actively used while the trustor (or the creator of the trust) is still alive. In contrast, a testamentary trust only comes into being after the trustor’s passing.

A testamentary trust is created based on explicit instructions written into a will. In it, a trustee, (or the person who manages the assets on behalf of beneficiaries of the trust) is appointed and given instructions on how to distribute the estate. The trustee can decline the position. If a trustee does decline the position, a court can appoint someone to act as trustee. It is best to select a trustee that is willing and able to administer your estate after you are gone in order to limit the court’s involvement.

Advantages of testamentary trusts:

There are many advantages to creating a testamentary trust. The following are reasons that you may want to consider setting up a testamentary trust.

1. A testamentary trust can establish that assets cannot be paid to beneficiaries until certain conditions are met. This is especially helpful for parents who wish to condition the receipt of funds for children. For example, you may condition the disbursement of assets on a child reaching a certain age, graduating from college, or marriage.

2. A will can have more than one testamentary trust, meaning that there is no limit to the number of beneficiaries one can have. This ensures that assets will get distributed according to your desires, depending on the conditions you set.

3. Creating a testamentary trust is inexpensive. A testamentary trust does not come with the same costs as establishing a living trust. This can be beneficial if you cannot afford to establish a trust because the cost of creating a testamentary trust comes out of the estate.

4. There are tax benefits in using a testamentary trust as opposed to another type of trust. Testamentary trusts only require payment of income taxes on the trust as a whole. This means that the beneficiaries are not required to pay taxes on their distributions from the trust.

Disadvantages of testamentary trusts:

There is one major downside to establishing a testamentary trust: a testamentary trust must go through probate. Probate is the court procedure by which assets are distributed after an individual has passed away. Probate can be extremely expensive and lengthy. Assets cannot be distributed until probate is complete and assets are then transferred into the trust.

Knowing what type of trust is right for you can seem confusing and difficult. We are here to help you decide what plan is right for you based on your individual circumstances and needs. If you have any questions about how to plan for your future and the future of your loved ones, give us a call today.



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