Spokane Trust Lawyers
A trust is a legal document that allows you to transfer property to your heirs and beneficiaries after your passing without the property having to go through probate. This saves money for the estate and saves time for your beneficiaries who can receive their inheritance sooner and with less hassle. Avoiding probate is a valuable use for a trust, but it is not the only reason to have one. There are actually many different types of trusts which can be used for different, specific purposes. At Moulton Law Offices, P.S., our attorneys engage in comprehensive estate planning that explores all your options and ensures you have all the right legal documents in place to take care of your needs and goals during your lifetime and after you are gone. Contact our experienced Spokane trust lawyers to schedule a consultation.
Get the Right Set of Trusts for You and Your Family
There are many different types of trusts that can be of value in estate planning. There are so-called living trusts (aka inter vivos trusts) that are funded with assets during your lifetime, although the title only transfers to beneficiaries after your death or whenever you provide in the trust. In a revocable living trust, you transfer your assets to the trust but continue to manage them as trustee and benefit from their use. You can also amend or revoke the trust as you see fit. After your passing, your beneficiaries receive the assets per your directions without having to go through probate. Not only do they get their inheritance sooner than through a probated will, but a trust also avoids the public aspect of probate. Wills become a matter of public record, but a trust can keep private the details of your estate and who gets what.
In contrast to living trusts, there are testamentary trusts. These trusts are created by a provision in your will, and title transfers at the time of death unless provided otherwise. Testamentary trusts are often used to allow a trustee to continue to hold property for the beneficiary’s benefit until they reach a certain age, such as 18 or 25. A testamentary trust is cheaper and less complicated to create than a separate living trust, but it does become public when the will is submitted to probate. Popular forms of testamentary trusts include a child’s trust, a family trust (pot trust), or a spendthrift trust that protects property from being taken by creditors.
Trusts can also be revocable or irrevocable. A revocable trust must expressly provide that it is revocable. Otherwise, the trustor cannot legally revoke or amend the trust. Irrevocable trusts can be used for specific purposes to protect property from creditors, exempt assets from Medicaid, maintain eligibility for Supplementary Security Income (SSI) benefits, avoid estate taxes, and many other uses. Some popular irrevocable trusts include:
- Special Needs Trust/Supplementary Needs Trust
- Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust
- Spousal Lifetime Access Trust
- Dynasty Trust
- Grantor Retained Income Trust
- Grantor Retained Annuity Trust
- Grantor Retained Unitrust
Irrevocable trusts can be complex and are not for everyone or every situation. Talk to your estate planning attorney to determine if any irrevocable trusts should play a role in your estate plan.
Requirements for a Valid Trust in Washington
Even a revocable living trust is more complicated to create than a simple will, and some types of trusts are even more involved and require special expertise to draft correctly. All trusts must contain certain basic requirements to be valid under Washington state law. These requirements include:
- The trustor must have the capacity to create a trust. This is the same capacity required to make a will under Washington law. In other words, the person must be at least 18 years old and “of sound mind.”
- The trustor must indicate an intention to create a trust.
- The trust must have a definite beneficiary unless the trust is a charitable trust, pet trust, or a trust that falls into the exception allowing for trusts without ascertainable beneficiaries. A beneficiary is considered definite if the beneficiary can be ascertained now or in the future, such as designating a person by name or a class of persons such as “my children” or “my grandchildren,” subject to a complex legal doctrine known as the “rule against perpetuities.”
- The trust must include duties for the trustee to perform.
- The same person cannot be the sole trustee and the sole beneficiary of the trust.
- A trust can only be created for a lawful purpose that is not against public policy and that is possible to achieve.
Contact Moulton Law Offices for Help With Trusts in Spokane
A revocable living trust is an essential component in most people’s estate plans, and a comprehensive estate plan might require one or more irrevocable trusts, depending on your needs and goals. Talk to a knowledgeable estate planning attorney at Moulton Law Offices for advice and guidance to get the right set of trusts to suit your needs. Call our experienced Spokane trust lawyers today.