Pittsburgh Trust Attorneys
40+ Years of Helping Clients Plan for Their Futures in Armstrong, Allegheny, Beaver, Washington, Butler, Westmoreland Counties
Herb & Winters Law’s Pittsburgh Trust Attorneys can provide a wide variety of trust services including but not limited to drafting trusts for clients, administration of trusts (new or existing trusts), trust contests, trust litigation, trust administration, and trustee services. This webpage focuses on drafting of trusts, but feel free to click on any of the other services we provide for more information. Schedule a consultation with one of our trust attorney’s today.
What is a Trust?
A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that allows a trustee to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. Trusts are complex legal documents that can be arranged in many ways and can specify exactly how and when assets pass to the beneficiaries.
Creating a Trust in Pittsburgh
While there are many different types of trusts, some of those trusts include but are not limited to:
- Dynasty Trust: In its most simplistic form, a dynasty trust goal is to act as a vehicle to transfer wealth among multiple generations. Usually, it goes from transferring wealth from grandparents to children and then from children to grandchildren (but can be set up to last even longer). Sometimes these trusts skip a generation and go straight to the grandchildren. Dynasty trusts have been a favorite of the ultra-wealthy to pass wealth down across multiple generations, but can be utilized by those with more modest estates to achieve the goal of effectuating intergenerational transfer of wealth.
- Living Trusts: A living trust is a legal arrangement establish by an individual (the settlor) during their lifetime to protect their assets and direct their distribution after the settlor’s death. Generally, a living trust is set up so the settlor – the trust’s creator – can continue to benefit from the trust’s property during their lifetime and usually the settlor and/or the settlor’s spouse will serve as trustees. Depending upon your goals and needs, there is a high degree of customizability with trusts generally speaking.
- Revocable Trust: A revocable trust is a trust that can be modified or amended during the settlor’s lifetime. The only time that a revocable trust cannot be modified or amended is once the settlor dies.
- Irrevocable Trust: An irrevocable trust is a trust that cannot be modified or amended once it is signed. Once an irrevocable trust is signed, the settlor can no longer make changes on his or her own.
- Special Needs Trust: A special needs trust can be set up for a child that has struggles with mental illness, mental disabilities, or physically disabled that is structured in such a way so as not to jeopardize public benefits. Furthermore, these trusts can be set up to provide a trustee with a high-degree of control over distributions so to ensure that trust proceeds are utilized to promote the beneficiaries health, welfare, and safety. Unfortunately, we have no guarantees in this life that we will be able to take care of a child, parent, or other loved one for the entirety of their life. A special needs trust can be a way to ensure that your loved one is best cared for even when you are no longer able to be there to provide that support.
- Charitable Trust: A charitable trust is a trust that supports charitable causes and which can potentially be used to secure favorable tax benefits.
- Animal Trust: Believe it or not you can set up an animal trust for your furry friend to ensure that your beloved pet is well-taken care of after your death. Amongst several requirements for an animal trust, the pet that is the beneficiary of the animal trust must be living during the settlor’s lifetime. You can name multiple animals as the beneficiary’s of the trust as long as the pet was living during your lifetime. While animal trusts have been around for quite some time in Pennsylvania, animal trusts have gained some received some recent attention because of shows like Netflix’s “Gunther’s Millions” about a dog who was perhaps the richest if not one of the richest animals to ever live - thanks to an animal trust fund.
While the above is just an illustration of some types of trusts, there are many other different types of trusts not listed above that our Pittsburgh Trust Attorneys at Herb & Winters Law can assist you with.
Who can create a Trust in Pittsburgh?
Anyone who is of sound mind and over the age of 18 can create a trust. We, of course, recommend that you consult with one of our Pittsburgh Trust Attorneys at Herb & Winters Law regarding the drafting of your trust.
Who can be a Beneficiary of a Trust in Pittsburgh?
Any living person can be a beneficiary. You can also set beneficiaries as a class of persons to be determined at a later time (e.g. your grandchildren but it’s possible that you could have more grandchildren in the future who are not yet born). As previously mentioned, you can even set up an animal trust, so there is a good amount of flexibility in terms of who the beneficiaries of the trust could be.
What are some of the Benefits of having a Trust in Pittsburgh?
- Avoidance of Probates: One of the benefits of having a trust is that your beneficiaries can immediately start enjoying the benefits of the trust upon your death without needing to take the trust’s property through the time-consuming and potentially expensive process of probate. The cost of drafting a trust is usually like pennies to the dollar compared to the cost of probate. A trust should allow you to either minimize or eliminate the need for probate.
- Asset Protection: In certain situations, a trust can be used to protect your assets from creditors like long-term care facility; however, a list of extensive requirements must be meet. A trust could protect assets in other situations as well.
- Quick Transfer of Assets: Because you would avoid the probate process, the beneficiaries of your trust could start enjoying the benefits of the trust upon your death as opposed to having to wait for probate process.
- Tax Minimization: Under certain circumstances, trusts can be utilized to minimize taxes.
- Control Over Who Gets What: A trust is a way for you to specify exactly who is going to get what. You have the control and power to decide how your assets will be distributed.
- Protecting & Providing for Loved Ones: You can also set up when and how your beneficiaries get to receive the benefit from the trust. It is common that when a beneficiary is a minor or a young adult that the settlor doesn’t want the young beneficiary to get the full amount in which said beneficiary is entitled to until they reach a certain age. Some people utilize the age of 21 and others utilize the age of 25 (in hopes that the young beneficiary will have matured by that point). You know your loved ones best and if you feel that a little extra protection (love) is needed, then there are a plethora of options to address your concerns.
Call our Pittsburgh Trust Attorneys Near You
In short, Pittsburgh trust attorneys at Herb & Winters Law can assist you with the drafting of your trust. Be proactive and schedule a consultation today with the Pittsburgh trust contest attorneys at Herb & Winters Law today, so that you can start getting answers to your legal questions.