Hot Springs Trusts Attorneys
Arkansas estate planning and trust litigation law firm
Trusts are legal instruments that hold, manage and distribute assets based on the directions of the trust creator, sometimes referred to as the grantor. The Hot Springs trusts lawyers at Schnipper, Britton & Stobaugh advise Arkansas clients on the various types of benefits that a trust can offer. Whether you want to simplify the transfer of property after your death, protect assets from creditors or fund a cause you believe in, a trust might offer the solution you’re looking for. In addition to creating trusts, our attorneys also guide trustees on the fulfillment of their duties and represent parties in litigation when a dispute arises over the validity or administration of a trust.
What are the differences between wills and trusts?
In some cases, trusts are created to hold assets and disperse them upon the trust creator’s death. These trusts function similarly to wills in that respect, but there are numerous differences between these two types of estate planning instruments, including:
- Private administration — Property that is bequeathed to heirs in a will must pass through the court-supervised probate process. This means that the intended recipients usually have to wait for months, or even longer, before collecting their inheritance. On the other hand, trusts are administered privately so distributions typically are made much more quickly.
- Lifetime use — You can draft and revise your will throughout your lifetime, but it does not take legal effect until after you have died. Trusts, on the other hand, can serve a wide range of purposes while you are alive and continue to operate per your instructions after you have passed away.
- Versatility — There are many reasons why you might establish a trust. Whether you’re looking to reduce tax liability, fund a charitable organization or maintain eligibility for government medical benefits, a trust tailored to your needs could be the best solution.
Though you might choose to transfer your assets through a trust, it is still important to have a valid will in place to distribute property that might be overlooked or not included within the trust for some reason.
Creating a living trust in Arkansas
Many Arkansans create a living trust to hold their assets while giving their loved ones the ability to bypass the probate process. These trusts can be modified or revoked at any time, and the trust creator can maintain access to the property for the remainder of their life. We can help you prepare a document that identifies the beneficiaries you want to receive the property remaining in the trust upon your death.
Other types of trusts
Our firm also prepares trusts to help accomplish clients’ objectives, such as:
- Irrevocable trusts — With an irrevocable trust, you don’t have the ability to make changes, but might save on taxes or qualify for Medicaid benefits because the trust assets are no longer under your control.
- Life insurance trusts — It is possible to transfer ownership of a life insurance policy to a trust to reduce the size of one’s estate or shield proceeds from creditors.
- Special needs trusts — If you have a son or daughter who might have trouble providing for themselves due to a physical or mental disability, we can advise on how a special needs trust could offer financial support for them now and in the future.
- Family trusts — Some trust creators establish a family trust to reduce estate tax liability and impose restrictions on how funds can be spent.
- Gun trusts — You might choose to establish a revocable gun trust which keeps your personal information private and sets forth terms regarding who should receive your firearms upon your death.
When you discuss your asset protection and estate planning goals with our firm, we can advise if one of these options or another type of trust can help you reach your goals. Once your trust is created, our firm provides comprehensive counsel on the administration of the trust and any disputes that arise over the trustee’s fiduciary responsibilities.
Reasons to hire an attorney
Whether a trust is relatively straightforward or highly complex, it must be drafted with the utmost care. Failure to provide clear instructions could result in failure of trust and a distribution of assets that goes against your wishes. You can rely on us to create an enforceable legal instrument that directs the trustee on how property within the trust should be managed and distributed.
Contact a knowledgeable Arkansas trusts and estates attorney
To schedule an appointment to discuss your estate plan, including the potential benefits of establishing a trust, please call Schnipper, Britton & Stobaugh at 501-762-0887 or contact us online. Our office is located in Hot Springs.