Clients are often surprised at the many types of trusts available. The following is a short reference for those thinking about “getting their affairs in order.”
Revocable Trust: This is the most common type of trust. The “settlors” (owners) create a legal contract (trust), stating their wishes. The named “trustee” must follow those wishes. It is designed to avoid the probate court upon death, and help with asset management in the event of illness. It is changeable by the settlors.
Stand Alone Retirement Trust: These trusts are designed for IRA’s and other retirement plans. A named trustee manages the inherited IRA for an adult beneficiary who may unwisely cash out the asset, or be subject to a lawsuit, bankruptcy, or other set back.
Irrevocable Asset Protection Trust: These trusts are typically created for older people who suffer from chronic long term illness and/or dementia, and need (or will need) expensive long term care in a nursing facility. This trust protects assets, while allowing the ill person to receive Medi-Cal benefits.
Special Needs Trust (Also called Supplemental Needs Trust): These trusts are created for individuals with disabilities or special needs, who need Medi-Cal, SSI, or government assistance.
Marital Disclaimer Trust: These are types of Revocable Trusts for married couples. The assets typically belong to the survivor upon the death of the first spouse, with an option for tax planning if needed.
Mandatory Split Trust: These Revocable Trusts are for married couples. Upon the death of the first spouse, the assets are “split”, creating two, and sometimes three sub-trusts. Couples with children by prior marriages often prefer these types of trusts.
When choosing what trust is right for your circumstances, it is important to talk with a qualified attorney who can properly guide you, offer options, and answer your questions.