Protecting Property Through Trusts

Everyone should have an estate plan, but everyone's estate plan will be different and customized for their particular needs and goals.

For many people, it's enough to have a relatively simple plan composed of a will, a power of attorney, an advance health care directive, and perhaps one or two other documents. Other people will want something more complex. Many people rely on trusts — powerful estate planning tools that can protect property and provide for loved ones or charities for decades to come.

At the Law Offices of Christopher Bent, LLC, we help people in St. Louis, Missouri, and the surrounding areas with a wide array of issues in estate planning, including both revocable and irrevocable trusts.

We draft documents that will stand up to legal scrutiny and accomplish their objectives years or decades into the future. We also help people through the complex process of probate and the difficult process of probate litigation.

What Is A Trust?

Put simply, a trust is a means of dividing ownership between a party who oversees it (the trustee) and the party who benefits from it (the beneficiary). The trustee has a duty to preserve the trust for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

Some people like to describe a trust as a pitcher of water. The trustee has the responsibility to keep the pitcher full so that there is always enough in it to pour out a glass for the beneficiary.

Perhaps the most common trusts go into effect after a person passes away, and the assets from that person's estate provide the funds for the trust — or, if you prefer, they fill up the pitcher. This is known as a testamentary trust. However, trusts can also go into effect during a person's lifetime. We help some clients set up trusts that name themselves as the beneficiaries so that the well-managed property in their trust can provide for them for the rest of their lives and for their children after them.

What Can A Trust Do?

A trust protects property in a number of ways. Property that is in a trust does not face the same tax risks it would otherwise face. Likewise, property in a testamentary trust does not have to go through as many hurdles in the probate process as property that does not have this protection.

A trust is also a good way to exercise control over property. When you put your assets in a trust, you can give the trustee instructions on how the money should be parceled out to the beneficiaries. For example, you may instruct the trustee to pay for the upkeep of a historic piece of real estate, or to provide scholarship for students at your alma mater, or to simply write checks to your loved ones at regular intervals. You have a great deal of flexibility in designing your trust.

How Can A Trust Help You And Your Family?

Your situation is personal, and you deserve a personalized estate plan, created with the help of an experienced lawyer. To learn more about estate planning and whether trusts are right for you, call our office at 314-439-1546 to schedule an appointment. You can also contact us by email.