When Washington residents approach estate planning for the first time, they usually have a set of goals in mind for what they would like to achieve. For many people, the goal is simply to have a plan in place that ensures the seamless transition of assets to their children, or other designated beneficiaries. For others, the tax implications of the probate process or other methods of transition of assets is at the forefront of their concerns.
So, the real issue is this: What estate planning options are the right ones to achieve your goals?
Overview of trusts
For many people, the answer to that question is a trust. The basic concept of a trust is fairly straightforward, although trusts can certainly get complicated in a hurry, depending on the situation. For starters, there is the person who wants to establish the trust: usually known as the settlor of the trust. Then, a trustee will be named. The trustee is the party who will have a fiduciary responsibility to take care of the assets in the trust and do what is best for the designated beneficiary. The beneficiary, of course, is the party, or parties, who will benefit from the assets or property in the trust.
Oftentimes, the most difficult aspect of trusts for those who are considering this estate planning options is the fact that the trust becomes the actual owner of the assets or property in question. The settlor is no longer considered the owner for legal purposes.
So, is a trust the right option for your estate plan? Well, every situation is unique, and the specifics of your family and financial situations will be the key to determining whether or not this option is right for you. Be sure to get the right legal information about all of your estate planning options.