Trust Attorneys in Nashville, Tennessee

A well-written estate plan should be an essential part of anyone’s long term planning. Although each plan should be tailored to the individual, there are a few documents that everyone should consider including. One of these is a trust. By understanding the benefits of a trust and the different types of trusts, you can better weigh your options and decide what works best for your needs. 

If you’d like help setting up a trust or are simply looking to explore your options, call Brazil Clark, PLLC to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney. Attorney Frank Brazil and his team are located in Nashville, Tennessee, but can represent clients throughout Rutherford County and the rest of the state.   

Overview of Trusts   

A trust is an estate planning document that works much like a will in that it allows you to allocate certain assets to be distributed to a beneficiary of your choice after you pass away. However, unlike a will, the transfer of ownership actually happens while you’re still living. To do this, you’ll assign a trustee who will become the legal owner of whatever assets you choose to place in your trust, and in most cases you’ll still retain full control over them while you’re living. This means you can add or remove assets, reassign or name new beneficiaries, or even reassign who your trustee is. Then, after your death, your trustee can transfer the assets directly to your beneficiaries according to your directives. 

There are two main types of trusts: a revocable trust (also called a living trust) and an irrevocable trust. A revocable trust can be altered anytime during your life after it’s set up and offers the most flexibility. With an irrevocable trust, you can’t make any changes to it after it’s set up and the assets have been officially transferred into the trustee’s name. When you work with your attorney, they can walk you through the steps of setting up a trust which include deciding which assets you’d like to place in it, what conditions you want to put on it, choosing a trustee and beneficiaries, or making revisions. 

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Why Having a Trust is Important  

When people wonder, “How is a trust different than a will?” one of the key differences is that a trust allows you to bypass probate. Probate is a legal process that wills and most other estates must go through with the court system. Here, the will is “proved”: the contents of the estate are located, inventoried, and assessed, and any outstanding debts must be addressed before distribution can happen. This process typically takes several months to complete but can last over a year. Additionally, most people find it necessary to hire a probate attorney which means legal fees on top of this. 

Trusts do not have to go through the courts and will be kept private. Once a person dies and their will is filed with the courts, it becomes part of the public record so anyone who requests to see its contents will be granted access. Trusts, on the other hand, remain confidential and are ideal for those who don’t want the details of the estate or assets to be widely known. Trusts are also customizable and many people choose to take advantage of this by putting limits on when and how much of a certain asset can be distributed. For example, if you have a minor child, you can stipulate that certain assets won’t be made available until they turn 18, or that specific funds can only be used to pay for college.  

Lastly, setting up a trust now can be an important safeguard against future mental incapacitation since you’ll be naming a trustee who will be responsible for administering your trust and your assets whether you die or you become incapable of communicating.  

Choosing a Trustee & Beneficiaries  

One of the most important decisions you can make when setting up a trust is choosing your trustee and beneficiaries. Your trustee should be someone who’s responsible and whom you can count on to follow your directives. This can be someone you know personally like a family member, but it can also be a trust company. Next, you’ll need to decide on your beneficiaries. If you’re writing a revocable trust, this can be changed down the line which is why most people opt for living trusts. You may assign a beneficiary when you first establish your trust, but down the line you may wish to change this if you have more children or remarry. Your attorney can help you make these changes and ensure they’re written in a legally-binding way.  

Trust Attorneys in Nashville, Tennessee

Not everyone will need or want to set up a trust, but for others, it can become an indispensable component of their estate plan. To learn more about trusts, reach out to Attorney Frank Brazil and his team at Brazil Clark, PLLC in Nashville, Tennessee.