John C. Rexford
5 Advantages of a Family Trust
Planning for the end of life can often feel challenging or overwhelming! However, it may be important to recognize that intentional planning now can avoid unnecessary pain later. Planning ahead can help you to extend support and care for your loved ones, even after you pass. It can allow you to leave a legacy and an impact that continues to provide for your family even when you are gone. Advance planning can reduce stress, provide space for peace and restoration between family members (and to avoid conflict), and allows your hard work and resulting resources to continue in a plan for a sustainable financial future for your beneficiaries.
Why Have a Living Trust?
Many individuals choose to create a living trust as a way to provide for their family and to
responsibly take care of their assets after they die. It is important to understand what a trust entails, as this can be a valuable vehicle to manage and distribute your wealth. A trust is a written arrangement that allows a trustee to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. It can have a variety of important benefits for you and your loved ones. It identifies who is responsible for managing your assets and can provide detailed instructions on how to distribute your assets according to your unique preferences. The trust leaves you in control, but assumes authority of your assets for important protections should you no longer be able to manage them for yourself. Read on for some helpful tips:
1. Management of your assets before you die.
A living trust allows for management of your assets, even before you die,
which is different from a will which only takes effect after one passes away. Because of this, a
trust has additional protections that a will does not contain. A trust creates an
opportunity to dictate exactly what you want to do with your wealth and even avoid or
reduce estate taxes in some cases, giving your loved ones more financial freedom and more control of what happens to your property. Careful planning now as the trustee—the person who controls the trust—allows for freedom and control of your
wealth after you are gone.
2. Avoid Probate Court
A trust allows you to avoid probate court, a potential lengthy and costly process,
permitting you to pass on your property without any formal court proceedings or legal
fees. Avoiding probate allows for flexibility and privacy in the distribution of your
property without having to have a court oversee or dictate the process. Your last wishes
with regard to your belongings, assets, and finances will be kept private and shared only
with those who need to know. This may be different from a will which may be shared in
probate court in a public setting, reducing privacy, and potentially causing additional
distress to those who will oversee your financial assets after you are gone.
3. Reduce Stress on Those You Love
The establishment of a trust reduces stress on those you love—what a gift! You are able to identify successor trustees, design and direct the plan, and the designation of assets—all before you pass away! This pre-planning results in relieving your loved ones from having to make these decisions while they also navigate the grieving process. Taking this extra step off of your loved one’s plate after you pass, allows them to be present with their grief and to heal emotionally without having to feel overwhelmed
4. Bring Clarity to Your Family
A trust enables the care of those in your family with clarity. For example, a trust can
identify the specific ways assets are shared with grandchildren or for a child with a
disability. Distribution of the assets can be done very intentionally, often timed in
intervals, providing for the children but allowing them to grow to an age of maturity
before having to oversee a large sum of money. Furthermore, one can identify the way in
which they would like assets to be used and for what purpose. For example, finances can
be designated to pay for college tuition only, or allocated in specific ways to truly serve
the beneficiary over a long period of time.
5. Ability to Change Over Time
A trust allows for change and flexibility over time, with each season, and as you and your
family change. The terms of a trust are not cemented in stone and can be re-evaluated
continually. You are able to change your trust when needed to re-allocate the
distribution of your property, add or remove beneficiaries, disperse your assets
differently than initially planned, and so on. Many individuals are able to add in an
additional family member when desired (ie: the new grandchild who was just born) or to
allocate giving financially in a different way that previously designated (ie: giving to a
local charitable organization that you learn about later in life). The ability to customize
your wishes is a wonderful opportunity to honor your hard work and allow your legacy
to continue on through those you love.
Conclusion and Summary
Every individual wants to leave a legacy, to support their family, and continue to provide for the next generation. Many leave a legacy in the form of the impact they make on those around them. It may be the mark they leave from supporting their community, the close family relationships that were forged through difficult times, or the way they supported their employees. Memories live on in pictures and videos but also through a nest egg left for those we love, remaining for our family to utilize after we are gone. Creating a trust is an important way to protect your financial assets now and after you pass, to care well for those around you.
About John Rexford
John Rexford is a distinguished lawyer with a wealth of experience helping familiesd individuals create a trust to hold and distribute their wealth. Having practiced in multiple states and familiar with estate law, he listens attentively, responds with clear and concise recommendations, and avoids legal jargon, so the process of creating a trust is understandable and easy to follow. He ensures that you understand what you are doing. Importantly, he seeks to tailor each recommendation to the unique needs of his clients to serve each one to the best of his ability.
Reach out to us today to begin the process of learning more about setting up a trust to continue your meaningful, intentional legacy. We look forward to serving you soon!
423-645-2017 (Tennessee Office) // 508-234-9160 (Massachusetts Office)