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Attorney Randy Ratliff

Family Asset Protection Trusts

Experienced Nashville Lawyer Ready to Address Your Estate Planning Needs

Simply put, a “trust” is a legal document that creates a fiduciary arrangement that allows a trustee to hold assets on behalf of the person making the trust (called the “settlor”) and his or her beneficiaries. Trusts can be effective either during the maker’s lifetime (inter vivos trusts) or after the settlor’s death (testamentary trusts). They can also be either revocable or irrevocable, meaning that some trusts can be changed in the future, while others cannot be altered. At the Randy Ratliff Law Offices, PLLC, our Nashville estate planning attorney assists clients in establishing many different types of trusts, including family asset protection trusts. In many instances, we can also help with the modification of an existing trust.

There are several different types of trusts, and it can be confusing to know exactly which type of trust will fit one’s particular needs. Although the idea behind the various types of trusts is basically the same – in effect, to put real estate, personal property, or other financial holdings in the legal name of a trust entity rather than have it remain in the owner’s name – the selection and drafting of a trust for a given situation is best left in the hands of a qualified attorney, rather than a self-help website. By carefully considering the settlor’s needs and desires, a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help a client determine the proper legal vehicle to protect his or her hard-earned assets and can take care of all of the necessary paperwork to ensure that the legal requirements are met.

Understanding Family Asset Protection Trusts

Most people are familiar with the idea of holding property “in trust” under the provisions of, for instance, a grandparent’s Last Will and Testament, until a minor child reaches a certain age, at which it is presumed that he or she will be of sufficient maturity to handle his or her own financial affairs. Many have also heard of a “spendthrift” trust – designed to keep a financially irresponsible adult from quickly wasting funds that a trust’s settlor intends to be used by the beneficiary for his or her needs for many years. The idea behind these types of trusts is that a certain beneficiary needs to be protected for his or her own good. (Of course, it is possible that such a trust can be mismanaged, in which case the beneficiary may need to speak to an attorney about requesting an accounting of the trust.)

Some other types of trusts are aimed more toward protecting the settlor of the trust, while indirectly protecting beneficiaries of his or her estate by retaining as much of the settlor’s assets as possible. These asset protection trusts allow a settlor to hold assets in the name of the trust, rather than in his or her own name, in order to protect the settlor’s cash, real and personal property, or other valuable holdings from being seized or executed upon by creditors or others. Family asset protection trusts can also have favorable tax consequences for the settlor and his or her beneficiaries. Some such trusts are aimed specifically at protecting the settlor’s property in the event of staggering health care or long-term care costs, either due to an illness or during one’s old age. Such trusts are typically an important part but not the sole component of the settlor’s Medicaid plan.

Retain an Established Nashville Lawyer to Assist with a Family Asset Protection Trust

If you would like to schedule an appointment to discuss a family asset protection trust or another estate planning matter with the knowledgeable legal professionals at the Randy Ratliff Law Offices, PLLC, call us at 615-656-8282 or contact us online. We serve all of Davidson and Williamson Counties, including Nashville, Antioch, Hermitage, Madison, Goodlettsville, Joelton, Franklin, Brentwood, and Cool Springs. In addition, we can answer questions that you may have concerning trust administration or petitioning to modify a trust. We also handle family law and elder law issues, including asset protection during a divorce.