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Jack R.
Jack R., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  OH/TX Practicing Attorney focusing on Family Law, Foreclosure, Landlord-Tenant Issues.
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We are considering a setting up a trust. We are 10 years from

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We are considering a setting up a trust. We are 10 years from retirement with 3 children. The thing that has held us up is trying to decide how to divide our assets or to even know what they will be at time of our death. How detailed, how important and how do we go about setting up a trust?
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You should think of a trust as a blue print on how you want your assets to transfer to your beneficiaries. The purpose of a trust is sometimes stated as being able to control your assets after death.

What you are struggling with is referred to as estate planning. It is something that requires considerable forethought on how and when you want things divided to be awarded to you beneficiaries and especially to your spouse. There are also tax implications on how a trust is set up.

You should talk to an estate planner. some estate planners are lawyers,, and some are certified financial advisers. You should talk to both. Lawyers are familiar with the mechanics of setting up trusts and meeting a client's objectives surrounding the purpose of a trust, and Financial Advisers are more focused on the investments in the trust and the objectives of those investments.

At the core a trust is an entity that owns all assets. The trustee or the settlor controls or manages the assets, and the beneficiary receives distributions from the trust. In setting up a trust you turn over your assets to the trust. You lose ownership, and the trust gains ownership. In many cases the trustee is the former owner.

For example you could sign your home over to the trust. The deed is no longer in your name but the name of the trust. The trust could then be designed to allow you to live in the home for life.

Trust can be revocable (able to be terminated) or irrevocable (incapable of being terminated). You need to be very careful with the latter.

Most of the questions you have surround Financial Planning. You also want to focus what the purpose of the trust is, and how you want to control the assets within trust.

I know this kind of general, but setting an estate plan is beyond what can be done in this forum. If you have specific questions about a trust please ask.

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