Trusts Are Effective Estate Planning Tools

Their Complexity Requires Working With A Knowledgeable Attorney

Trusts allow individuals to accomplish a wide range of objectives regarding how their assets are distributed to heirs. There are several types of trusts, each providing a unique capability. In many cases, people create trusts to gain more control over what happens with their assets if they die or become incapacitated.

At Dubin & Balistreri, Ltd., in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, our experienced estate planning attorneys will review your estate planning objectives and help determine if it makes sense to incorporate one or more trusts into your comprehensive estate plan.

Trusts Accomplish A Variety Of Goals

Trusts are used for a variety of reasons, including:

  • To minimize or postpone estate taxes
  • To avoid probate
  • To protect assets from creditors
  • To provide supplemental income to a special-needs child while ensuring that he or she will qualify for government benefits
  • To place restrictions on when a benefactor can receive assets (e.g., at a certain age or after he or she graduates from college)
  • To pass assets to children from a previous marriage
  • To structure sizable charitable contributions

Once a trust is established, it can be funded with cash, annuities, stock, real estate, life insurance policies or other assets. Properly funding a trust is not a simple matter. We will make sure your trust is properly funded.

The Revocable Or Irrevocable Trust Decision

A trust that is created and funded while its creator (the grantor) is still alive is called a "living trust," while a trust that is created upon the grantor's death through instructions left in a will is called a "testamentary trust."

Living trusts can be revocable or irrevocable. A revocable living trust allows the grantor to retain control over the assets in the trust. The grantor can amend or terminate a revocable living trust at any time. An irrevocable trust cannot be amended once it is created and funded. Some trusts are required to be irrevocable, including special needs trusts and Medicaid trusts.

Meet With A Milwaukee Estate Planning Lawyer Today

Trusts are not suitable for every estate, but in those instances where it does make sense, the benefits are significant. It is smart to work with a highly regarded law firm like Dubin & Balistreri, Ltd. We will help you achieve your estate planning goals. Call 414-219-0921 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Expand Your Options With Revocable Trusts

When building a forward-looking estate plan, the use of a revocable trust can be an effective method of avoiding expensive, time-consuming probate matters in the future.

A revocable trust can also help with administering the distribution of real estate owned elsewhere in the U.S., ensuring financial security for grandchildren and minors, and providing protection in situations when children die before their parents. These trusts can serve as substitutes for wills and are amendable at any time.

When your Milwaukee, Wisconsin, family's legal goal is avoiding probate through the use of revocable trusts — or a special-needs trust that can benefit a disabled minor or senior — the lawyer who can help you plan for your future is Peter S. Balistreri of the law firm of Dubin & Balistreri, Ltd.

The firm personalizes its representation, tailoring its guidance to address the specific legal needs of individuals, couples, families and business owners.

Irrevocable Trusts Are The Best Tools For Special Situations

Irrevocable trusts can be used effectively for asset protection or to accomplish special circumstances. However, because you lose control of the assets once they are placed in an irrevocable trust, you must be certain of your intentions. In many cases, you must plan far in advance.

With the federal estate tax exemption — the amount a person can leave to heirs without paying federal estate tax — set at $5.4 million (or more than $10 million for a married couple), irrevocable trusts as tax planning vehicles are for high net worth individuals.

But there are other reasons to use an irrevocable trust, primarily to address special circumstances such as caring for a special-needs child or protecting personal assets from professional liability. Some irrevocable trusts are designed to prevent money that is left to a child or other beneficiary from being mishandled or quickly depleted. A trustee, which can be you, distributes funds according to the terms of the trust.

Special-Needs Trust Care For Disabled Loved Ones

Parents and other relatives of a special-needs child often want to ensure that their child's needs are met long after the parents are no longer alive. A special-needs trust allows a person to provide funds for personal needs while ensuring that the individual still qualifies for government help such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and medical benefits.

At Dubin & Balistreri, Ltd., in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, our estate planning attorneys assist clients in creating a wide range of trusts, including special-needs trusts.

By placing assets into a special-needs trust, the government does not consider those assets to be owned by the beneficiary, so it will not affect his or her application for government benefits. The grantor selects a trustee who will have control over the funds in the trust. The trust's assets cannot be given directly to the beneficiary. Instead, the trustee is able to pay for personal goods and services for the beneficiary, including furniture, clothing, medical expenses, education, recreation and entertainment.

A special-needs trust can be funded by the beneficiary's own money — for example, funds recovered in a personal injury lawsuit. Our attorneys can review your options for helping a person who is unable to manage money independently.

Why You Should Work With An Attorney

It is critical to work with a lawyer who understands the state and federal laws that govern the creation, funding, use and termination of a special-needs trust. We will review the unique facts of your situation and create a special-needs trust that complies with these rules, while providing the care you want your loved one to have.

Call 414-219-0921 or use our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation. We will review your circumstances and recommend an effective course of action.