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Create Wills and Trusts That Meet Your Needs

When you are planning for the future of your family and loved ones, there are several different options you can choose from in your estate plan. I have been helping clients create meaningful estate plans for more than 43 years. I value my clients' input and their preferences, allowing them to voice their goals and objectives for the future. Each individual has a different asset base and family circumstances and will need to create a plan for their unique needs.

As a Pittsburgh-area attorney with significant experience in  estate planning  and  probate law , I understand how each element of your plan will affect future recipients. Upon your passing, your family will be left with the responsibility of distributing your assets. They may deal with it directly or be required to appear in court for probate purposes, depending on how you set up your estate. If you are interested in receiving legal support for your estate plan, contact my law office today. I will work with you to design a plan that fits your needs and helps you pursue your goals.

Wills: The Foundation Of An Estate Plan

If you decide to include a last will and testament in your estate plan, it is important to understand that wills are the foundation of many estate plans. A will is used to provide instruction for the distribution of a person's property after they have passed away. You can also use a will to name an executor and designate a custodian or  guardian  for minor children. If you want to leave instructions on how to pay for debts and taxes, you can include that in your will, as well. When a living trust is created, it is necessary to have a will as a backup — this type of will is called a pour-over will.

A will can sometimes be helpful for individuals with fewer investments who just want to have a simple document explaining how their property should be handled and distributed. If you have more assets, your loved ones will have to go through probate courts to receive any property. In this case, I would suggest my clients consider a living trust, which protects from probate court proceedings.

Is A Living Trust Right For You?

A trust is a legal document that authorizes a trustee, who can be the grantor (or the creator of the trust), to hold title to and manage assets. The grantor retains the ability to revise the trust up until death.

A revocable trust, commonly called "living trust," is an effective estate planning tool for avoiding the costs and hassles of probate, preserving privacy and preparing your estate for ease of transition after you die.

Unlike in a will, assets in a living trust will generally pass to heirs sooner. Although probate in Pennsylvania is a very easy process, having a living trust does have advantages. Transferring assets into a trust could save months and thousands in legal fees — please note that this is no cookie cutter, i.e., every case is different and whether you should have a will or a living trust depends on your specific needs, goals, objectives, family dynamics and types of assets you own, among other factors.

Care must be taken in determining whether or not you should name a trust as beneficiary of retirement assets because it is easy to make costly mistakes. If not handled properly, income tax on the IRA proceeds could be accelerated.

There are many different types of trusts, some of which include:

Asset Protection Trusts

Bypass Trusts

Credit ShelterTtrusts

Dynasty Trusts

Life Insurance Trusts

Special Needs Trusts

Spendthrift Trusts

Testamentary Trusts

Contact An Experienced Estate Planning Lawyer Today


Experienced Guidance In Trust Administration

When a loved one creates a trust for their property, it means they have set up protection for their assets. A trustee is responsible for ensuring these assets are distributed or cared for as directed by the trust. Most individuals create a trust that clearly maps out how to distribute their estate, and at what time. They must be able to understand all of the legal obligations and regulations surrounding the trust.

Most trusts include specific beneficiaries who will receive some of the assets. These individuals will have the right to inquire about the trust, requiring the trustee to provide an accurate report. By maintaining detailed records, trustees can ensure they avoid lawsuits or fraudulent claims. When you are selecting a trust administrator, it is very important that you can trust them and rely on their legal expertise.

Offering Trust Administration Services

You can choose a family member, relative or even lawyer to be a trust administrator. If you are looking for a skilled Pittsburgh lawyer who provides legal services throughout western Pennsylvania to hire as your trustee, I am capable of providing you the services you need. With more than three decades of experience, I understand how to maintain a trust and keep beneficiaries informed in a timely manner.

What Are The Duties Of A Trustee?

Whether you use a lawyer or a family member, trusts require specific actions by a trustee, including:

They need to keep an accurate account of records and financial standings, as well as update all of the beneficiaries on current information.

They need to file tax returns and make sure any taxes are paid in full.

When the trust directs it, they will be required to distribute the income and handle any other expenses.

If you have young children or a loved one with special needs, you may want to set up a special needs trust, which is discussed elsewhere on this site. By having a trustee, you can ensure your loved ones get the finances they need at the right time. When you provide for their financial future, you allow them to live comfortably.

Why Hire An Attorney?

You may also designate a certain amount of funds that should be invested into different properties or stocks. When you enlist my services, I will consult with you to design a plan that fits your preferences. Whether you want to create funds for your young children or set up an inheritance for generations to come, I have the experience to help.

When you elect a Pittsburgh estate planning lawyer who practices throughout western Pennsylvania to administer your trust, you are able to specifically designate how your family will be supported. You can also rest assured that your taxes and other legal concerns will be handled with professional skill.

If you need to set up a trustee for your trust contact my law office online or call 412-928-2068 today. The initial consultation is complimentary.

Wills and trusts can never be created too soon, which is why it's important to discuss your situation with Attorney D'Onofrio today.

Contact my law office online or call 412-928-2068 today to discuss your future plans with a complimentary initial case evaluation.


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