Legal-Ease: Do I need a trust?

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

Trusts can be thought of as contracts. They allow people to impose rules on inheritances, minimizing or eliminating estate taxes, if necessary. The “trustee” of the trust can distribute the property owned.

Trusts are very different than LLCs or corporations. As opposed to owning “shares” in an entity, as is the case with LLCs and corporations, the “beneficiary” of a trust essentially owns the property of the trust, but is subject to rules laid out in the trust.

Determining whether a trust is necessary involves looking at the complexity of assets owned by a client, and what happens to those assets upon death, keeping in mind the details of a client’s distribution plan for assets.

Whether someone needs a trust depends upon each person’s unique circumstances.

Initially, it is important to explain what a trust is and what a trust does and does not do. A trust is a set of rules. I often consider each trust to be a contract with two parties to that contract. One party to the contract is the trustee, who enforces the rules of the trust. The other party to the contract is the beneficiary, who enjoys benefits from use or possession of the property that is subject to the trust’s rules. The trustee and the beneficiary are sometimes the same person or multiple people.

Read more about trusts in Lee’s article for the Lima news, “Legal-ease: Do I need a trust?”

Source: LimaOhio.com, “Legal-ease: Do I need a trust?” by Lee R. Schroeder, March 11, 2017.

Posted in Estate Planning, General Law, Probate and tagged , , , , , , .