There is more to building a complete estate plan than simply writing a will and putting it on a shelf for years. Illinois residents may welcome the flexibility that trusts can provide in their estate plans. But these trusts should be built to be flexible so that they can change as life circumstances change and tax laws change over the years.
There are three issues about which individuals should be concerned when it comes to trusts in an estate plan: trustee discretion, decanting and a trust protector. Discretionary trusts essentially spell out when, if and how beneficiaries will get their funds. Rules a trustee must follow can be built right into the trust. The trustee for a discretionary trust has the authority to decide if, how much and when to distribute assets to the beneficiaries of the trust.
The decanting of a trust paves the way for the assets included in an old trust to be moved to a new trust, which better reflects current life situations. Decanting basically fixes a trust that isn’t aging well. A trust protector also builds flexibility into a trust by naming someone to look after a trust’s interests in addition to a trustee. He or she may be able to address and solve issues that weren’t anticipated at the time the trust was created. These individuals also have the power to remove or replace existing trustees.
Safeguarding family finances is crucial in estate planning. An Illinois attorney may be able to provide details to clients on how trusts can be a means to this end. A lawyer is also able to ensure trusts are keeping with the laws of the state to avoid possible litigation in the future.