Physician’s routinely see that an illness or incapacity can wreak havoc on a family. Just as you have insurance to help you and your loved ones in the event of a disability, a revocable trust can also help protect your family.
A revocable trust is a powerful estate planning tool that can serve many important purposes in your overall financial plan. Consider the following benefits that a revocable trust can provide:
Planning for Incapacity: During your life, you can be both the Trustee and beneficiary of the Trust. In addition, your spouse or other loved one can serve as a co-Trustee along with you, if appropriate. If you were to become incapacitated, or needed help managing the Trust, the co-Trustee, or if none, the successor Trustee, could step in to provide assistance and manage the assets for your benefit. This can help ensure that access to needed assets is seamless. If your assets were titled in your sole name and you became incapacitated, loved ones might need a court order to gain access to them.
Assets Left for Beneficiaries Can be Protected: A Revocable Trust details how assets pass upon death, and in essence, functions as a Will. However, the Trust also allows you to leave assets for the benefit of one person (the beneficiary), while naming another to control those assets (the Trustee). The Trustee has the legal obligation to manage the assets under the terms of the Trust. This structure is particularly important if your intended beneficiaries are minors, have special needs, are receiving government assistance (such as SSI or Medicaid), have creditor or bankruptcy issues, or are not good at managing money. In essence, the Trust can protect the assets for these individuals.
Avoiding Probate: If assets are titled in the name of the Trust prior to death, those assets will not need to be probated. This allows the Trust assets to be more readily available and reduces overall costs after death. This can be especially important if you own real estate or other titled assets, such as cars or boats, in multiple states.
Privacy: When a Will is probated, it becomes part of the public record. Anyone can look at the files at the Probate Court and see any Will. Trusts are not filed with the Court, and consequently, provide privacy not afforded by Wills.
It is easy to see that Revocable Trusts can provide many benefits. An estate planning specialist can help you determine if one is appropriate for your estate plan.
Tracy is a partner and chair of the firm’s Trusts and Estates Group. She focuses her practice in estate planning, estate administration, prenuptial agreements, tax-exempt organizations, guardianships and conservatorships and elder law. Before joining Mirick O’Connell, she was counsel at Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault LLP, in Boston.
Tracy works with individuals in all areas of estate and gift tax planning, ranging from testamentary estate planning, including business succession planning, to sophisticated lifetime leveraged gifting techniques, such as grantor retained annuity trusts (GRATs), intentionally defective grantor trusts, family limited liability companies and qualified personal residence trusts (QPRTs). She also specializes in estate administration, prenuptial agreements, guardianships and conservatorships, and all aspects of charitable planning, including the formation and operation of tax-exempt organizations ranging from private foundations to public charities. She serves in various fiduciary capacities, including trustee, conservator and personal representative (formerly known as executor). She also works with clients on issues facing elders.
Tracy has received an AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest rating available for legal ability and professional ethics, and has been elected to be a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Tracy was named a Massachusetts “Super Lawyer” by Boston magazine and Law & Politics in 2013.
Tracy A. Craig | Partner
Mirick, O’Connell, DeMallie & Lougee, LLP
100 Front Street | Worcester | MA | 01608-1477