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Attorney Randy Ratliff

Charitable Split-Interest Trusts

Nashville Attorney Skilled in Drafting Estate Planning Instruments

Estate planning, while emotionally difficult for some people, can be a great source of peace and comfort. There is an unmistakable satisfaction in knowing that you have taken the necessary measures to ensure that hard-earned assets will be appropriately distributed, with a minimum of fuss and with the least possible tax consequences. It can also be very rewarding to know that a favored charity will benefit from the fruits of your labors, perhaps through a charitable split-interest trust, either presently or in the years to come. Fortunately, there are many creative estate planning tools available to assist people who are ready to discuss such matters with an experienced Nashville estate planning attorney. At the Randy Ratliff Law Offices, PLLC, we welcome the opportunity to put our knowledge and skill to work as you plan for both the inevitable and possible contingencies along the way.

One of the most popular estate planning tools available today is a trust. Trusts are simple fiduciary arrangements that allow a trustee to hold assets on behalf of a beneficiary. They can be testamentary (included in a will and not carried into effect until the death of the testator, who is the person making the trust), or they can be inter vivos (effective during the testator’s lifetime). Trusts can be also revocable or irrevocable, depending upon the type of trust and exactly what the trustor wishes to accomplish.

Formation and Operation of a Charitable Split-Interest Trust

One version of a trust that may be popular with people who wish to provide for a charitable donation at some point is a “split-interest” trust, in which the present interest in the trust and a remainder to be dispersed later are divided into two separate interests. Charitable split-interest trusts are usually irrevocable, meaning that, once they are set up, the trustor cannot undo them. Thus, a person considering the establishment of a split-interest trust should very carefully consider the consequences of such an endeavor. The assets that will be used to establish the trust will no longer belong to the testator as his or her own separate property. An experienced trusts attorney can explain both the benefits and the drawbacks of a split-interest trust.

To further explain, a “charitable split-interest trust” is a trust in which the present interest is held by the trust’s beneficiaries, but the remainder goes to a charity (or a group of charities) designated by the trustor. Such a trust may help the trustor (or his or her estate) avoid or reduce certain taxes. In addition to estate planning and tax management, a charitable split-interest trust allows the trustor to provide for his or her family while also fulfilling certain philanthropic goals. Unlike many other types of trusts, a charitable split-interest trust can benefit both a charitable organization and a noncharitable beneficiary, such as a relative.

Schedule a Consultation With a Trusts and Estates Attorney in Nashville

If a charitable split-interest trust sounds like an appealing possibility for your estate planning needs, Attorney Randy Ratliff will be glad to schedule a consultation in our offices. We assist clients throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including in Nashville, Brentwood, Cool Springs, Antioch, Hermitage, Madison, Goodlettsville, Joelton, and Franklin. For an appointment, call us now at 615-656-8282 or contact us online. We also offer a wide range of other estate planning services, including the drafting of wills, powers of attorney, health care proxies, probate documents, and a vast array of trusts. We provide advice for families for whom there are special considerations, such as second marriages, a non-citizen spouse, or a same-sex couple. Additionally, we can handle family law and elder law matters throughout Middle Tennessee. While talking to an attorney about private financial and family matters can seem daunting, we will serve you with compassion and discretion. Planning for the future now, rather than letting matters “take care of themselves” later, can help avoid protracted legal proceedings in court, ensuring the peace of mind of both the person planning for his or her estate and his or her beneficiaries.