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Family Trust Questions

Family trusts are legal documents that can be changed or added to by the person who prepares it. The goal of the family trust is to provide instruction for the handling of the person's assets before and after the person is deceased. The instruction within the trust can include everything from the beneficiaries to cash distributions.

The family trust is typically the most commonly used due to the lower estate taxes generated, which will help avoid probate, also the public cannot be privy to the person's assets and worth. Unlike the basic will, the family trust will prevent government seizures and/or public scrutiny. If you would like to learn more about family trusts, take a look at the following questions that have been answered by Experts.

My family and I have a family trust called "The Carpenter Trust". My three oldest siblings are the executor's if both of my parents pass. Is there any further paperwork that needs to be done if one of my parents or both pass?

Generally, after a trustor's death (the trust creator), there are a few things that must be done in order to comply with the laws of the state.

The deceased assets must be evaluated and a list must be prepared in order to figure the net worth of the decedent for federal estate tax reasons. If the decedent's estate has a value above $5 million, there must be a federal tax return files. Income tax returns will need to be filed for the estate and the decedent. The decedent's heirs and beneficiaries must be notified in the event the trust becomes irrevocable upon the person's death.

Probating an estate seems to be more time consuming and more expensive that Trust Administration. However, there will be some work involved after the passing of your parents.

We need a family trust for our mothers home. She has health problems that may require her in need for assistant living. Would this protect us from her home being used as collateral against assistance?

An irrevocable Grantor Trust would protect the home and would provide qualifications after five years of ineligibility after the trust had been created and funded. There are possible techniques that would allow for protection of the home if the 5 year ineligibility wasn't a good option for the family. The techniques are very complicated and many issues arise when using the techniques with regards to the family, taxes and government benefits eligibility. To use the techniques would require the assistance of an elder law attorney.

When a family trust is the beneficiary of an IRA and there are 3 siblings, can the minimum distribution required be based upon the life expectancy of the oldest sibling?

It isn't common practice for a trust to be a "qualified trust" for an IRA distribution. When a trust isn't qualified, the distribution is generally made during a five year period or the proposed life expectancy of the IRA owner.

Since the RMDs have already begun, then the RMDs will be based on the eldest beneficiary unless it is a UN -qualified trust.

A Irrevocable Family Trust has been set up and one family member has retained an attorney. We received a demand letter wanting information about the trust. The letter wants the info in 30 days, are we required to send it to this new lawyer?

As a beneficiary, this person is entitled to any information pertaining to the trust. The beneficiary wants to be informed of the matter and how it is handled in order to protect their interest in the trust.

If the person is requesting information pertaining to the trust, they are entitled to this information, if you refuse to give the information over, the person could file suit against the trustee and force the information.

Having a family trust will ensure that the assets within the trust will not go to probate. Many people use this type of trust for the protection it provides. Before you select a trust for your needs, you should ask an expert to assist you with making the right choices for your individual needs.
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