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Trusts can help to protect assets long term

In today's busy society, estate planning is easy to put off and perhaps never get around to doing. However, this process, which involves creating wills and/or setting up trusts, is critical for protecting one's assets down the road. The latter can be particularly helpful for ensuring that one's assets are distributed properly in the event of one's death in Virginia.

Like wills, trusts -- which are essentially legal agreements -- detail how people's assets will be distributed when they die. However, they also enable their creators -- known as grantors -- to designate people to manage their assets during their lifetimes should they become incapacitated. To create these legal agreements, the grantors must write trust documents and then transfer the ownership of selected properties to the trusts.

When establishing these legal agreements, the grantors must also name trustees to manage them for the benefit of the beneficiaries. Living trusts take effect during the lifetimes of the grantors. The grantors can appoint themselves to be the initial trustees so that they can manage the associated property themselves. However, in this situation, the grantors would also need to appoint successor trustees to manage their legal agreements and then distribute their assets when the grantors become incapacitated or die.

Two types of trusts can be created -- revocable ones and irrevocable ones. Revocable ones can be changed any time the grantor wishes to make this happen, whereas irrevocable ones cannot be changed. An attorney in Virginia can provide asset owners with the guidance they need to protect their property in the most personally beneficial manner possible given their unique financial situations.

Source: sandiegouniontribune.com, "Legal essentials for caregivers: wills & trusts", April 24, 2018

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