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Trusts and estate plans

When developing their estate plans, Virginia residents can structure a trust so that it can be used to achieve their specific goals. It can be also structured to simultaneously give the trustee the tools needed to achieve those goals while dealing with ongoing economic and investment factors. In order to properly structure their trust, individuals have to decide if they will fund it straightaway, over a certain period of time or upon their death.

Many people choose to use a revocable, or living trust as a part of their estate plan. A revocable trust, which is not funded until the death of the settlor, holds all the person's instructions for how the estate is to be divided among surviving loved ones. It also specifies how each beneficiary's share in the trust is to be administered, regulated and distributed. For people who are concerned about the welfare of their minor children, a trust can be used to designate who will be able to make financial decisions on behalf of the children and use the trust funds to pay for their health care and education expenses until they reach adulthood.

Trusts are very easy to modify, which can be beneficial for settlors with minor children. As their children become adults, parents may reconsider certain aspects of the trust. It is recommended that estate plans and any included trusts are reviewed every five years, and more often if necessary.

An attorney who specializes in estate planning may advise people about the different types of trusts they can include in their estate plans to help ensure their wishes regarding the handling of their assets are honored. A lawyer may help create the trust and draft properly worded provisions that address the distribution of assets and the handling of investments.

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