Reliable Trust Attorney in Mesa, AZ Helps You Protect Your Assets

Proven strategies for securing wealth for retirement and succession

As part of a comprehensive estate plan, one or more trusts can help you secure wealth for your enjoyment and pass it on to your heirs without going through probate. For more than 20 years, the Law Firm of Joseph M. Udall, PLC in Mesa has provided personalized estate planning services for people throughout Arizona. By working closely with you to identify where you need asset protection and the most cost-effective means of transferring your wealth, we can suggest a variety of proven strategies to accomplish those goals.

Trusts can be attractive alternatives to probate of assets

A trust is a legal arrangement in which assets supplied by a grantor are put in the charge of a fiduciary who manages them for the benefit of beneficiaries. They can be:

  • Revocable — This is a trust in which the grantor retains control of the assets and may change the terms at any time.
  • Irrevocable — The grantor cannot control the assets or make changes to the terms of this type of trust without the beneficiaries’ consent.

The principal advantage of an irrevocable trust is that the assets are no longer taxable to the grantor nor can be reached by his or her creditors. Asset protection trusts, which are designed explicitly to shield assets from creditors, must be irrevocable.

Trusts can also limit the trustee’s powers in these ways:

  • Fixed — The trustee must distribute the assets to the beneficiaries in accordance with a schedule predetermined by the grantor.
  • Discretionary — The trustee has the power to decide which beneficiaries receive assets and in what amounts.

A fixed trust is often used to protect the assets of a youthful beneficiary, paying out a stipend until they reach majority age and take absolute ownership of the trust property. A discretionary trust is a common way to take care of a beneficiary, such as an invalid, whose financial needs may change over time.

A variety of trust instruments are available to fit your specific needs

In addition to a living trust, your circumstances might call for a:

  • Living trust — This allows you to serve as the trustee of certain assets during your lifetime and then to be succeeded by a designated trustee upon your death.
  • Family trust — To avoid estate tax, you may use a will to bequeath a certain amount to a trust. The remainder passes to your spouse without incurring estate tax.
  • Dynasty trust — This allows you to pass substantial sums to your grandchildren without incurring estate tax.
  • Qualified personal residence trust — You can avoid estate tax by placing your home in a trust so its value is not added when calculating your estate.
  • Life insurance trust — By placing your life insurance in an irrevocable trust, you allow the assets to pass to your beneficiaries without incurring tax. You cannot borrow against the value of your policy for the remainder of your lifetime.
  • Qualified terminal interest property trust — If you’ve divorced and remarried, a QTIP trust allows you to direct assets to persons you choose, such as children from your first marriage, rather than having them pass to your current spouse.

As with your will, you may revoke most trusts if your circumstances or desires change. However, unlike a will, a trust allows assets to avoid probate, and a trust provides a plan for the management of the assets if you become incapacitated.

Contact a knowledgeable trust attorney for personalized service in Mesa, Arizona

The key to a successful estate plan is matching the legal tools to your needs. The Law Firm of Joseph M. Udall, PLC works closely with you to identify your concerns and suggest strategies to address them. Call 480-500-1866 or contact us online. We provide telephone consultations, and Saturday and evening appointments are available. We speak Spanish fluently.