Dedicated Phoenix lawyer works to protect your legacy
Trusts and estates law covers several areas crucial to your wealth, including how to protect your assets from liability and taxation, and how best to pass a legacy to your loved ones. Bankruptcy and Estate Planning Pros wants to help you maximize your enjoyment of the fruits of your labor. Drawing on more than 20 years of legal experience, Mr. Gerity helps clients in the greater Phoenix area establish trusts and implement comprehensive estate plans. When the time comes to transfer assets, our firm assists with estate administration and probate. If you have not consulted an attorney to create your estate plan, the best time to start is now.
How do trusts fit into an estate plan?
Trusts are legal instruments you create to hold your property for your enjoyment during your lifetime, and to transfer those assets on to your beneficiaries after you pass. Under certain circumstances, the trust can continue to hold your property, though not in perpetuity. Trusts are an important part of any estate plan and are often superior to a will, because they:
- Help grantors avoid estate tax — When you place assets in a trust, they no longer belong to your estate. So, when you die, assets in trust are not counted toward estate tax. If you put enough property in trusts, you can lower the value of your estate so it does not trigger estate tax.
- Avoid probate — Since you technically don’t own the assets in your trusts, that property is not part of the estate that must pass through probate before being distributed to your beneficiaries. Trust assets transfer automatically, saving your beneficiaries time and expense.
- Allow the grantor to add conditions to a gift — Suppose you want to leave money to your brother, who has a substance abuse or gambling problem? With a trust, you can give your brother an allowance, conditioned on his remaining sober or refraining from gambling. You can provide for your spouse from a second marriage but still protect an eventual inheritance for your children from your first marriage. You can also provide for an adult with special needs without disqualifying him or her from public benefits.
Trusts are flexible instruments you can tailor to your specific needs, and they are often combined with a will to completely cover your estate plan from all angles. Popular trusts in Arizona include:
- AB or bypass trusts
- Asset protection trusts
- Credit shelter trusts
- Charitable remainder trusts
- Crummey trusts
- Dynasty trusts
- Generation skipping trusts
- Grantor-retained income trusts (GRIT)
- Irrevocable life insurance trusts
- Qualified personal residence trusts (QPRT)
- Qualified terminable interest property trusts (QTIP)
- Resulting trusts
- Revocable trusts
- Special needs trusts
- Spendthrift trusts
- Testamentary trusts
- Totten trusts
Bankruptcy and Estate Planning Pros can advise you on the most appropriate use of trusts in your estate planning. He thoroughly analyzes your estate and strategizes the best means of transferring your assets, minimizing taxes, establishing guardianship for your children, supporting personal philanthropic causes, and protecting your loved ones. Our firm can also draft a will that reflects your desires and establish living trusts if they would be beneficial to your estate, possibly in conjunction with other trusts.
The role of a trustee in your estate plan
The trustee is the person the grantor names to oversee the trust. In some cases, the grantor can serve as the trustee, but if the trust outlives the grantor, a responsible third party must fill this role. The trustee’s duties are to:
- Manage trust assets for the good of the trust.
- Disburse assets according to the terms of the trust.
- Act impartially toward all beneficiaries.
- Invest trust assets prudently.
- Account for trust assets.
- Pay the trust’s taxes.
Trustees receive compensation for their service to the trust. Often, disputes arise between beneficiaries and the trustee over the management of the trust. We represent trustees and beneficiaries and work to resolve disputes in a timely, cost-effective manner.
Probate and estate administration services
We apply our extensive knowledge about Arizona probate court to guide you through the complex process of probating a will. We assist executors in all steps of the process, including:
- Creating a plan of action to probate the estate fairly and expeditiously
- Filing the will with the Arizona probate court
- Closing and opening bank accounts
- Transferring assets from the deceased to the estate
- Paying taxes and other debts
- Locating beneficiaries
- Hiring professional experts when necessary
- Managing probate and will disputes
- Handling executorship duties
When disputes occur between beneficiaries, we successfully represent your interests. We have the extensive knowledge to challenge invalid wills or to defend valid wills against the improper assertions of dissatisfied beneficiaries. As a skillful mediator and litigator, Mr. Gerity can negotiate between beneficiaries to preserve relationships or fastidiously pursue your rights in court when necessary.
Contact us for answers on trusts and estates in Phoenix, Arizona
Bankruptcy and Estate Planning Pros provides estate planning services in the Phoenix metro area and throughout Arizona. If you’re wondering how forming a trust or creating a will could protect your wealth, call the firm at (602) 274-4400 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Phoenix office.