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Spokane Estate & Probate Lawyers / Blog / Estate Planning / Lifetime Trusts: 3 Reasons to Consider Using One

Lifetime Trusts: 3 Reasons to Consider Using One

lifetime trust

This article will discuss lifetime trusts and provides several reasons to consider using one. Estate planning ensures that your hard-earned assets are distributed according to your wishes after your death. 

It involves determining who will receive which portions of your assets and how they will be distributed. One of the options to consider when deciding how to distribute your assets is a  lifetime trust

What is a Lifetime Trust?

A lifetime trust is a legal arrangement in which assets are placed in a trust to benefit one or more named beneficiaries. Unlike a standard trust, which distributes assets as a lump sum, a lifetime trust is designed to last for the entire lifetime of the named beneficiaries.

This type of trust can be used with an irrevocable, revocable living, or even a testamentary trust.

Protecting Beneficiaries from Financial Mismanagement

A lifetime trust prevents beneficiaries from receiving a single lump sum payment, which can be particularly beneficial for those who struggle with managing their finances.

By distributing assets over time, the trust ensures that beneficiaries will not exhaust their inheritance too quickly. 

Additionally, if a beneficiary deposits their inheritance into a joint account with their spouse, the money becomes “community property,” allowing the spouse to claim half the trust amount. A lifetime trust is a “built-in prenup” to protect the inheritance from such situations.

Flexibility for Beneficiary Needs

Lifetime trusts allow beneficiaries to receive health, education, maintenance, or support distributions. The trustee overseeing the trust can judge the appropriate distributions for each beneficiary, ensuring that the trust assets are used responsibly and for the intended purposes.

Protection from Creditors and Legal Claims

A lifetime trust safeguards the trust assets from creditors and legal claims, such as lawsuits or divorce settlements. If a beneficiary faces financial or legal troubles, the assets in your trust remain protected and cannot be accessed by creditors or ex-spouses.

Consult with Spokane Estate Planning Attorneys

Creating a trust is a crucial decision with long-lasting implications for your family. We highly recommend consulting with our estate planning attorneys  to ensure your lifetime trust is set up according to the latest revisions to Washington & Idaho State statutes. 

Lifetime Trusts: A Boon for Vulnerable Beneficiaries

Some beneficiaries might be unable to manage large sums of money responsibly due to age, disability, or susceptibility to undue influence. A lifetime trust ensures that such vulnerable beneficiaries are protected.

The trust will provide them with a consistent and controlled source of income managed by a reliable trustee.

This measured provision can be particularly crucial for beneficiaries with special needs or who require long-term medical care.

Tax Benefits of a Lifetime Trust

Setting up a lifetime trust can also have significant tax benefits. A lifetime trust can help minimize estate taxes and potentially eliminate them altogether if properly structured. This is particularly beneficial in cases where the estate is sizeable.

With smart and strategic planning, a lifetime trust can help maximize the wealth passed onto your beneficiaries, preserving the value of your estate for future generations.

The Significance of Choosing the Right Trustee

Trustee selection is a key factor to consider when establishing a lifetime trust. The trustee’s role is pivotal in ensuring that the trust operates according to your wishes and for the best interests of the beneficiaries. Ideally, a trustee should be trustworthy, responsible, and familiar with financial matters.

It could be a family member, a close friend, or a professional trustee like a lawyer or a financial institution. A well-selected trustee can help efficiently manage the trust’s assets and ensure they are used appropriately.

Preserving Family Wealth Across Generations

Lifetime trusts can also serve to preserve family wealth across generations. Instead of distributing the assets all at once, a lifetime trust can help instill financial discipline in younger generations and teach them the value of preserving and growing family wealth.

Over time, this could lead to the accumulation and strengthening of family assets, leading to a more financially secure future for all members.

Get Professional Advice from Moulton Law

Setting up a lifetime trust is a complex legal process that requires meticulous planning and a clear understanding of your estate’s unique circumstances. Hiring experienced estate planning attorneys can prove invaluable in navigating the intricacies of this process.

They can help tailor the trust structure to your needs, ensure it is tax-efficient, and guide you in selecting a suitable trustee.

Lifetime trusts offer many benefits – protection from financial mismanagement, flexibility, safeguarding assets from creditors, and potential tax advantages.

Always remember that careful planning and professional advice are key to making the most of these benefits, ultimately ensuring that your loved ones are well-protected and provided for long after you are gone.

A lifetime trust offers peace of mind, knowing that the beneficiaries of your trust will have access to the assets for their entire lifetime. Consider the advantages of all your trust options so you can make informed decisions about your estate plan and protect your loved ones for years.

Note: Lifetime trusts should not be confused with another similar term “life estate“.

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