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Estate Trusts

Estate trusts are legal devices that take ownership of your assets while you are living. You still have control over the assets and you can get rid of the estate trust at any time. Estate trusts allow you to state how and when your assets will be distributed and can reduce taxes for your heirs as well as allow you to get around the problem of probate.

If desired, you can appoint a trustee to manage the estate trust for you. The trustee will make investment decisions and take care of the different types of assets in the estate trust. You can give the trustee as much direction as you like and can change trustees as you wish.

When selecting a trustee to manage your estate trust, you must, of course, pick someone you trust with your finances. You can choose a beneficiary, such as an adult child, but be sure the situation is acceptable to any other children who will benefit from the trust. You can also choose a friend, family member or institution, or set up a co-trustee situation. Institutions typically charge a fee.

The trustee you choose should have at least some experience handling financial matters and should use an investment strategy you feel comfortable with.

Remember that you still need a will when you have an estate trust. The will covers anything not held by the estate trust and is absolutely necessary if you have minor children and need to appoint a guardian for them.

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