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Trusts and estate plans

While some people with very simple estates may not need to set up a trust, trusts can be a useful tool for many different people in New York who are in the process of estate planning. People who have a net worth of $100,000 and who have a sizable portion of assets held in real estate, art or business may benefit by using a trust.

Some people want to direct that their assets be provided at different times contingent upon the intended beneficiary completing something or reaching a certain age. Others want to ensure that after their spouse dies, their estates will then pass to their children and not the spouse's heirs. Trusts are also beneficial for people who want to provide for a disabled relative without affecting his or her ability to receive disability payments and Medicaid.

Trusts allow people to avoid the costs and fees of probate. They also can be used to reduce estate and gift taxes and help to protect assets from lawsuits and creditors. People who set up trusts can also put conditions on the time of disbursement of assets as well as the manner in which they are distributed.

Trusts can be an important and beneficial tool to use when planning how to handle an estate. There are many different benefits to setting up a trust depending on the type of trust selected. They are very flexible and can be varied to meet the individual needs of the grantor and his or her intended beneficiaries. People should carefully think what they would like to achieve with their estate and discuss whether a trust is appropriate for them with their estate planning attorney. An attorney may be able to advise his or her clients regarding the type of trust that would best help them.

Source: CNN Money, "Estate planning: Is a trust beneficial?", November 24, 2014

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