Maybe you and your spouse are young and recent newlyweds wondering if there is more to estate planning than mere will execution. Or perhaps you and your partner are a few years into an established marriage and have a child with special needs. You understandably worry about his or her future in the event that either one or both of you become incapacitated or die.

Here are a few other scenarios that might ring a bell for you. Some readers of our estate planning blogs at the established San Jose Law Offices of Berge & Berge are business owners. Is there a planning tool that can help safeguard a family enterprise and ensure its future succession on desired terms? Can a tailored strategy guard against a loved one who hardly seems to fathom the value of a dollar and would just likely blow through a received inheritance given as a lump sum?

And what about a vehicle that can be put into place to promote charitable goals and related family values? How about a tool that can help you retain your financial autonomy during life, protect against creditor-linked downsides and ultimately transfer assets to a future family generation with little or no tax consequences?

There is in fact an estate planning instrument that in varied forms can do all those things. It is a trust, which is one of estate planning’s most creative and flexible tools.

A broad universe: some representative examples of trusts

It’s likely not much of an overstatement to claim that there is a trust to cater to just about every planning need. Here are some common trusts, which a proven estate planning attorney can explain and, when appropriate, execute for a client:

  • Revocable living trust
  • Trust for minors
  • Marital trust
  • Special needs trust
  • Irrevocable life insurance trust
  • Asset protection trust
  • Retirement trust
  • Spendthrift trust

What benefits can a tailored trust provide?

 A responsive answer to that header query can be delivered in a single word: many.

Trusts confer value in highly varied ways. Among other things, they can advance these key planning goals:

  • Avoid the time, expense and uncertainty of probate
  • Promote privacy
  • Carry out precisely a creator’s wishes
  • Safeguard too-free spenders from their financial excesses
  • Ensure that philanthropic aims are promoted
  • Protect against creditors
  • Minimize lawful tax exactions

In summary, legions of planners in California and nationally work with an experienced attorney to craft one or more trusts after perceiving the broad utility of such instruments.

Engaging in a bit of self-education concerning trust basics and application is almost always time that is both figuratively and literally well spent.