Berkley Oliver PLLC works with clients from all walks of life to establish a proper trust as part of a comprehensive estate planning strategy. Trusts are not only for the wealthy; they can help many individuals and families achieve objectives like avoiding probate, Medicaid planning, and protecting their assets.
When you meet with us, you will work directly with an experienced trusts and estates attorney who will help you establish a trust-based estate plan that best suits your needs. You can depend on us to provide you with reliable advice and objective insights so that you can make informed decisions about your financial future.
From our office in Shelbyville, we serve clients throughout Central Kentucky, including Shelby, Spencer, Anderson, Franklin, and Jefferson Counties. Contact our office today to arrange a confidential consultation.
What Is a Trust and How Can a Shelby County Lawyer Help?
A trust is a legal arrangement in which the person making it, referred to as the “grantor,” appoints another party (the trustee) to manage their assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries named within the document. One common type is known as a testamentary trust, which is created within a Will to provide for minor children. There are also stand-alone trusts that are designed for a wide range of objectives. Establishing one of these is a bit more involved than drafting a Will, however, which makes it essential to work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Common Types of Trusts in Shelby County
Our attorneys will work with you to explore a variety of trusts that can help you achieve your estate planning goals, such as:
A revocable living trust is a separate legal document from a Will, however, the two are used jointly to ensure that the grantor’s instructions are properly carried out. In this arrangement, the trust takes ownership of your property, but you continue to manage it during your lifetime. Because you no longer own the property, the trust does not need to be probated. This can be especially helpful if you own real property in another state.
A special needs or supplemental needs trust can be created to provide for a disabled child or adult who is receiving public benefits such as Social Security Disability or Medicaid. Because an inheritance may disqualify a special needs individual from these benefits, a trust can be established to provide for a lifestyle beyond their basic needs while preserving their eligibility.
This type of trust is designed to protect the assets of a beneficiary who cannot manage money, is frequently delinquent with debt, has a drug, alcohol, or gambling problem, or may easily be manipulated. Instead of leaving an inheritance to the individual, a trustee is appointed to manage the trust assets and either provide regular payments or purchase goods and services for the beneficiary.
Medicaid is the largest payer of skilled nursing care in the nation. This joint state-federal program is needs-based, however, which means you may not be eligible based on your income and assets. One solution is to transfer your assets into an irrevocable trust so that they will not be counted toward the eligibility limits for Medicaid. Because the average monthly cost of nursing home care in Kentucky is about $7,900, establishing a Medicaid trust will also protect your assets from being depleted by the cost of skilled nursing care. It’s important to remember the Medicaid “lookback” period for asset transfers applies when establishing a Medicaid Trust, so assets will only be completely protected if transferred into the trust at least 5 years prior to applying for Medicaid.
If you wish to leave a charitable legacy, one way to do so is by establishing a charitable trust.
In a charitable remainder trust, for example, your property is transferred into the trust, a named individual (e.g. spouse) receives income from the trust for a set time period, and a charity is designated as the final or “remainder” beneficiary.
Why Choose Our Trust Attorneys?
At Berkley Oliver, we have in-depth knowledge of the Kentucky Uniform Trust Code and will work closely with you to establish trusts that suit your needs and objectives. We also work with high-net-worth individuals to create trusts that will preserve their wealth, such as:
- Irrevocable life insurance
- Grantor retained annuity /unit
- Qualified personal residence
- Spousal lifetime access
No matter the size of your estate, establishing trusts is an effective way to protect your assets and provide for loved ones.
What Is Trust Administration?
Despite the fact that revocable living and irrevocable trusts avoid probate, all trusts must go through an administration phase to honor the terms of the document. We regularly advise trustees on how to faithfully carry out their duties, such as:
- Notifying beneficiaries of the settlor’s passing
- Inventorying and appraising assets
- Reviewing distribution obligations
- Managing and distributing the assets
- Obtaining court authorization if needed
- Preparing accountings
- Working with accountants to file income tax returns
Notably, a trustee is considered a fiduciary who must act in the best interests of the beneficiaries and can be held liable for mistakes and misconduct. If you have been appointed as a trustee, it is wise to have the informed representation we provide.
Contact Our Experienced Shelby County Trusts Attorney Today!
Whether you need assistance creating a trust or you have been appointed as the trustee of a close relative’s trust, Berkley Oliver can help. You can count on us to work in your best interests at all times. Contact our office today to learn how we can help.