As a means of transferring wealth or responsibility for assets, trusts date back to the medieval days of Europe, when barons and landowners would leave their property in care of a trustee while they pursued conquests and crusades.

Today, trusts may be less glamorous, but they continue to be an important means of ensuring the safekeeping of assets, providing for financial security in retirement, or reducing the tax consequences of transferring assets to heirs.

But why would anyone want to put part of his estate in a trust? Won't it be "tied up" forever? Shouldn't the family have the assets so they can use them? Won't the trustee just save the trust assets and keep them from the family?

When it comes to developing and administering trusts, there are no hard and fast rules. The best plans are developed specifically with your interests and unique situation in mind, and are reviewed regularly to ensure ongoing adequacy.

Personal trusts have the following advantages:

  • Avoidance of probate and confidentiality of family financial circumstances
  • Ongoing asset management in accordance with the needs of the beneficiaries
  • Protection against unwise use of assets or income
  • Creditor protection
  • Possible tax savings
  • Asset management and financial assistance in the event of the incapacity of the beneficiary
  • Uninterrupted management at the death of the creator of the trust
  • Allows for grantors' wishes to be carried out after their death

A wide range of trust options exist today. Many clients prefer to use a combination of different trust vehicles to take advantage of all the tax savings and income benefits available to them. Some of the most popular types of trusts are described here. Family Heritage Trust, along with your attorney, can help you determine the most appropriate use of these vehicles for your individual or family situation.