Columbus Trusts Lawyers
When contemplating their legacies and how to manage asset distribution after their passing, the considerations and concerns people may have will vary. Beneficiaries have diverse needs and desires that need to be addressed. Trusts can serve as a practical solution to deal with these concerns, while still offering financial benefits during the client's lifetime.
A Columbus trusts lawyer from our office can provide sound advice on whether establishing a trust is suitable for each client's particular needs and how it should be structured.
Call Kemp, Schaeffer & Rowe at (614) 665-5833 or contact us online to set up a consultation.
How Trusts Work
A trust is created when a person (the grantor) transfers property to another person (the trustee) to manage the property for the benefit of others (the beneficiaries). The terms of a trust describe how the property is to be managed by the Trustee. Oftentimes the grantor and the trustee are the same person. The most common type of living trust is a revocable trust, in which the grantor can amend or revoke it at any time during their lifetime. The grantor keeps all the benefits of any property placed into it for the rest of their life, while still enabling heirs to enjoy the benefits of a trust.
One common use of trusts today is to avoid the probate process by having property held and passed at death pursuant to the terms of the trusts rather than by a will. Trusts can also be used to achieve other goals, such as creating a mechanism to manage property during the owner's lifetime (especially during any time that the property owner experiences difficulty in managing his or her financial affairs) and as an arrangement to facilitate later financial and estate planning.
A trust may also offer advantages in terms of confidentiality as well. A testator’s will and the assets or the amount it disposes of are a matter of public record when an estate is opened. Some individuals wish to maintain confidentiality with respect to the nature of dispositions made at death and/or the nature of their assets. A trust is more likely to achieve that confidentiality, although there are situations where courts may require a disclosure of the terms of the trust and the assets it holds (typically when there is a disagreement among beneficiaries). That being said, the likelihood of confidentiality being maintained is much higher with a trust rather than with a will.
Some trusts are funded at creation, while others are funded at a later time. Trusts can even be funded at the grantor’s death by use of a pourover will. Clients can also partially or fully fund the trust while alive, which may create a favorable tax situation depending on the circumstances.
Placing assets in a trust can provide liability protection, safeguarding them from seizure in the event of legal disputes. This liability protection can be extended to one's heirs. If a client is concerned about an adult child's vulnerability to litigation, putting money for them in a trust can protect it from divorce proceedings or other legal actions.
A trust can be structured to pay out immediately after the grantor's death or over time. The latter can protect beneficiaries from the drawbacks and responsibilities of managing a substantial lump sum. The grantor assigns a trustee to administer the trust and distribute its assets.
The trustee takes on a serious responsibility in agreeing to uphold the grantor’s last wishes over an extended period of time. This is a responsibility that includes legal obligations and can leave the trustee vulnerable to legal action if heirs feel the trust is not being responsibly managed.
Since life circumstances continuously change, a trust's structure and contents may require updates. Beneficiaries' potential needs could change, and clients' long-term concerns could evolve. At KSR, we view trust planning as a continuous journey rather than a one-time task. We strive to understand our clients' hopes and worries for the future, keeping in touch with them to ensure their trust remains up-to-date.
The Advantages of Avoiding Probate
In Ohio, establishing a trust is the most effective way to avoid probate. Despite widely held belief, a will does not prevent one's heirs from going through probate process – it requires an estate to be opened to administer assets consistent with the terms of the will. Although a will can make the probate process more manageable for beneficiaries, setting up a trust is usually an effective way to avoid it entirely.
The probate process often is sought to be avoided because of certain costs and procedures associated with that process. Avoiding probate also eliminates potential legal issues that could delay the process of transferring assets after death. For instance, if a client owns properties in different states, probate must be conducted in each state where the property is located, incurring additional legal expenses and time. If the properties are instead held in trust, the death of the grantor does not change the ownership, and no estate would be required to transfer the properties.
Probate also interrupts income management. Without a trust, a family-owned business can still be passed down per the will's instructions, but probate can cause a brief pause in its management. Similarly, the transfer of other assets can be much smoother with a trust.
Moreover, probate is a public procedure, and the assets' value listed on it is available for public consumption. Privacy is important under any circumstances, particularly when a client wants to keep the world from knowing that a particular person has inherited a substantial sum of money. Trusts protect clients and their heirs' privacy.
KSR is amazing and they are my go-to lawyers!- Don B.
I was very pleased with Mr. Yarmesch, He stayed in contact with me, and returned my phone calls and emails promptly. Most importantly he negotiated a satisfactory outcome.- Former Client
Steve is great and willing to help in any way he can!! Suzette doesn't skip a beat, and keeps it all on track!!!- Heather L.
Matthew is very professional & knowledgeable. He has helped me in many ways with obtaining shared parenting with my child. He is very professional with time management of deadlines in all cases and really is a overall great attorney to hire for all fam- Former Client
We couldn't be more thankful. Steven definitely made the process very easy and as stress-free as possible.- Maria J.