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Attorney Randy Ratliff

Charitable Lead Trusts

Estate Planning Lawyer Advising People in the Nashville Area

There was a time when planning for one’s estate was a relatively simple matter that consisted primarily of asking the family attorney to draft one’s will. For people with modest means and uncomplicated family situations, a simple last will and testament may still suffice, although health care proxy documents such as a durable power of attorney for health care and a living will are also advisable, regardless of one’s wealth or family circumstances. For people with more significant means or more complex familial circumstances, however, there are many more creative estate planning options available, including a charitable lead trust. Nashville estate planning lawyer Randy Ratliff provides a full complement of trusts and estates services to people in Davidson and Williamson Counties.

Like other types of trusts, a charitable lead trust is, at its core, a fiduciary relationship involving a trustor, a trustee, and a beneficiary (or group of beneficiaries). The primary purpose of a charitable lead trust is to reduce taxation while also providing funds for a favored charity. The effectiveness of a charitable lead trust can vary, depending upon factors such as its qualification status under applicable state or federal laws and whether it is a grantor or nongrantor trust. Since charitable lead trusts are irrevocable, it is important that such an arrangement be set up by a qualified attorney and that the person entering into the trust do so after being fully advised of both the risks and the benefits.

Other Options and Considerations for Providing Charitable Donations

While a charitable lead trust may help some trustors provide financial support to one or more charities while allowing the remaining assets to pass to a family member or other beneficiary later in a tax-efficient fashion, there are other options for both charitable gifts and long-term provisions for family members. Each individual’s situation is unique and should be taken into consideration during the estate planning process. What works for one person may not have the desired consequences for another person. In some cases, there may be a more direct route or one that provides more alternatives with the same end result.

When planning for a charitable gift or for the needs of the next generation, it is also important to think about issues such as business succession, asset protection, taking care of a loved one with special needs, and even ensuring that one’s own future health care needs are handled in the most fiscally sensible manner. For some families, this may involve Medicaid or TennCare planning. While the task of estate planning can be daunting, the possible consequences of failing to plan are even less attractive: the passing of one’s hard-earned assets according to the law of intestate succession rather than by will or trust, taxation for larger estates, and the possibility that the bulk of one’s estate could go toward long-term medical care rather than to loved ones.

Discuss Your Options With a Compassionate Nashville Attorney

A charitable lead trust is just one of many possible options for people who are ready to get serious about putting their affairs in order. Getting started on one’s estate plan is easier than it may seem. While these steps do not necessarily need to be taken in order, there are three basic components to the estate planning process. You should take an inventory of your assets and liabilities, give due consideration to the proper parties to name as beneficiaries, and contact an experienced estate planning attorney to set up an appointment to get started on the appropriate paperwork. Attorney Randy Ratliff helps families in Nashville and the surrounding areas, such as Franklin, Brentwood, and Cool Springs, plan for their estates and their family’s future well-being each day. To schedule a consultation, call us now at 615-656-8282 or contact us online. We also assist people involved in family law matters, as well as clients who need advice on an elder law matter.