Joseph T. Svete, Esq.
In the past, a Trust was an essential estate planning tool for purposes of tax saving and controlling one’s assets after death.
With the generous Federal exemption currently at $5,430,000 and the elimination of the Ohio Estate Tax, for most of us, tax planning is not as critical as it once was. However, for estate planning purposes, Trusts are still a very important planning tool. Some Trust advantages include the following:
Trusts are not a public record and do not have to be filed with the Probate Court upon one’s death, therefore the person’s estate can remain private and confidential.
Unlike a will, where at the termination of the Probate process, the decedent’s assets are distributed with no further direction or control from the decedent. However, with a Trust, the Grantor can determine not only at what ages the beneficiaries should receive Trust assets as well as providing for a child with special needs.
Also, a Trust may protect a beneficiary’s assets from creditors as well as a spouse in the event of divorce. Distributions from a Trust, when they are distributed in the sole discretion of the Trustee and the Trust contains a spendthrift provision, the creditors of the beneficiary will not be able to cause a distribution to the beneficiary for possible attachment by the creditor.
As you can see, a Trust is still a very important estate planning document notwithstanding the fact that tax issues for most of us are no longer a consideration.