Estate planning and the testamentary trust

There are a lot of estate planning tools at your disposal. While most people think that a simple will is enough to meet their needs, this oftentimes isn't the case. While a simple will may provide some estate protections, they often don't go far enough to distribute assets in a way that totally aligns with an individual's wishes. This is why many individuals choose to incorporate other legal documents into their estate plans, such as trusts.

One commonly used type of trust is the testamentary trust. This type of trust is created through a will, meaning that it technically doesn't come into existence until the will goes through the probate process. This differs from a revocable living trust, which is created and exists during an estate planner's lifetime. Also, unlike a revocable trust, a testamentary trust is irrevocable. The testamentary trust, like all other trusts, names a trustee to manage trust assets, as well as a beneficiary.

Assets from a testamentary trust are typically distributed periodically until a certain event occurs. For example, a certain amount of money may be distributed to an individual until he or she marries, at which time the remainder of the trust's assets is released to the beneficiary. The event that triggers the release of the remaining assets can be just about anything, from graduating college, having a child or merely reaching a specific age.

Testamentary trusts certainly have their benefits. Yet, they aren't for everyone. Some people may find that they want their trust to come into effect before their death, or they may want their assets to be utilized for other means. This is why consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can be beneficial. These skilled individuals can assist individuals in custom-tailoring an estate plan that fulfills one's needs so that his or her vision of the future can be brought into fruition.

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