What Types of Trusts Can Be Used for Estate Planning

by | Sep 7, 2023

Nobody really knows when it will ultimately be their time to go. This is why it is never too early to start thinking about developing a comprehensive estate plan. Estate planning is an important step that can help individuals ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes after they pass away. 

One popular estate planning tool is the trust, which allows people to transfer their assets to a trustee who will manage them for the benefit of their chosen beneficiaries. There are several types of trusts that can be used for estate planning, each with its own advantages and disadvantages.

Revocable trust

This type of trust can be changed or revoked by the grantor (the person who creates the trust) at any time. A revocable trust is often used as a way to avoid probate, the legal process by which a deceased person’s assets are distributed. Because the trust owns the assets, there is no need for probate.

Irrevocable Trust

As the name suggests, an irrevocable trust cannot be changed or revoked by the grantor. Once assets are transferred to the trust, they belong to the trust and are no longer the property of the grantor. This type of trust is often used to protect assets from creditors or to ensure that they are distributed according to the grantor’s wishes.

Living trust

Created while the grantor is still alive, a living trust is often utilized as a way to avoid probate and to ensure that assets are distributed according to the grantor’s wishes. Because the grantor is still alive, he or she can serve as the trustee and manage the assets in the trust.

Testamentary trust

Established through a person’s will, a testamentary trust does not come into existence until the person passes away. This type of trust is often used to provide for minor children or for beneficiaries who are not able to manage their own finances.

Charitable trust

A charitable trust is one that is created to benefit a charity or nonprofit organization. This type of trust can provide tax benefits to the grantor while also supporting a worthy cause.

Special needs trust

Designed to benefit a person with disabilities, a special needs trust can help ensure that the person’s needs are taken care of while also preserving their eligibility for government benefits.

Asset protection trust

This type of trust protects a person’s assets from creditors. An asset protection trust can be particularly useful for people who are in high-risk professions or who are concerned about potential lawsuits.

Choosing the right trust for you

Trusts can be an effective tool for estate planning, but it is important to choose the right type of trust for your situation. A professional financial advisor can help you determine which type of trust is best for you based on your wealth management objectives and financial circumstances. Whether you are looking to avoid probate, protect your assets, or provide for loved ones, there is likely a trust that is right for you.