Asset Protection & Trusts Attorney
in York County, South Carolina
Trusts: Simple, Weird, Useful, and Complex
Those are the four words that I most associate with trusts because each word is completely accurate in describing how trusts are used and how they work. At its core, a trust is a fiduciary relationship established between the trust Grantor (the person who makes the rules) and the Trustee (the person who executes the trust under those rules) for the benefit of a Beneficiary. Often the same person will serve in multiple roles, such as the Grantor serving as the Trustee of their own revocable living trust. Other times not only does this not happen, but the relevant rules prohibit it.
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Ultimately, trusts are probably the most flexible tool in the estate planning toolbox. They can be simple documents designed to avoid probate or complex documents designed to manage family wealth for generations to come. You may know nothing about trusts or you may have heard about that one type of trust that does x, but here's the insider secret about trusts: At the end of the day, as long as a few requirements are met, a trust is a blank slate to be filled in to accomplish specific goals. There are almost endless permutations of trusts.
If you are interested in discussing how a trust can help you accomplish your estate planning goals, but are unsure if it's worth the expense or how it will work in your situation, then let's talk about it during your initial consultation.
Do All Trusts Protect Assets?
No, but this is a common misconception.
Many people merge the concepts of a trust with asset protection. This is understandable as there are many trusts designed with asset protection in mind. But if the trust is not written to fit the specific needs of a client's asset protection scheme, then it is more nuisance and encumbrance than benefit. If you have concerns about how your hard-won assets, whether your house or a million dollars you unexpectedly inherited, may be put at risk by creditors, predators, or divorce, either for you or for your children and grandchildren, then we need to at least discuss the ways that a trust can help alleviate that risk. Ultimately, a trust may not be appropriate, and even if it is appropriate, still may not be the best option. But regardless, it's a discussion that is necessary, and one that I look forward to having with you.
Making the Pieces Fit
A trust can be the centerpiece of an estate plan or a belated add-on to address new concerns, such as an unforeseen disability. Whether we are updating your entire estate plan, growing it, or editing only a few provisions of documents you already have in place, I'll work with you to make sure everything works together.