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Marital Trusts

Nashville Attorney Helping Families With Their Estate Planning Needs

Every marriage comes with its own set of unique circumstances. A couple’s particular situation and station affects not only their lives together, but also their estate planning needs. In addition to traditional documents like a last will and testament or power of attorney, there are many estate planning tools available today to address a vast myriad of potential scenarios. Talking to an established Nashville estate planning lawyer can be of great assistance in deciding which option is best for you. At the Randy Ratliff Law Offices, PLLC, we help clients determine how to best address the welfare and needs of those who will be left behind should they pass away or become incapacitated.

Trusts are a very popular estate planning tool for many couples. This includes both marital trusts and other types of trusts (such as charitable trusts or special needs trusts). A marital trust can be an especially attractive option for those who have accumulated substantial wealth during their lifetimes, those who are in second or subsequent marriages, and/or those who have non-citizen spouses. These situations call for particular care in estate planning, and, in many cases, a marital trust can help address the inherent concerns of those who find themselves in these particular circumstances. An experienced trust attorney can explain both the benefits and the potential drawbacks of a marital trust, as well as present alternatives that might be more attractive to a certain couple for one reason or another.

How Marital Trusts Work

Like other trusts, a marital trust is a legal tool through which a trustor places assets into the care of a trustee, who then manages the assets for the benefit of a beneficiary. Once established, the marital trust becomes a legal entity in its own right, and the trustor no longer owns or controls the assets placed into the trust. Because of this, the assets placed in the trust are not considered as part of the estate of the trustor when he or she passes away. This can help avoid, or at least prolong, the implications of federal estate taxation laws. While there may be tax due when the second spouse dies, it is likely (although not guaranteed) to be a smaller amount than would be due upon the first spouse’s passing.

Depending upon the particular kind of marital trust that is entered into (there are several kinds, including a qualified terminable interest property trust (QTIP), a marital deduction trust, and others), the trustor may have the option of naming the person or persons who will inherit the remainder of the trust after the second spouse dies. This can be an appealing option in certain situations, including second or subsequent marriages in which one spouse would prefer that the other spouse’s children not inherit any leftover monies from the trust. A marital trust can also be useful in preventing a surviving spouse from leaving trust proceeds to a person whom he or she chooses to marry after the trustor’s death.

Consider a Consultation With an Estate Planning Attorney in Nashville

Talking about sensitive personal matters, not to mention addressing the possibility of one’s own demise, can be difficult. However, failing to plan is, as the old saying goes, tantamount to planning to fail. In today’s world, failing to properly prepare for one’s needs in old age or the needs of loved ones who will be left behind upon one’s death can be a very costly mistake. Taxes that could have been reduced or avoided altogether can have a crippling effect on survivors, families can be torn apart because of infighting over assets, and those whose needs most desperately needed to be addressed can be left with a lifetime of financial struggles. At the Nashville-based Randy Ratliff Law Offices, PLLC, lawyer Randy Ratliff serves those in Davidson and Williamson Counties, including those in the cities of Cool Springs, Antioch, Hermitage, Franklin, Madison, Goodlettsville, Joelton, and Brentwood, as they endeavor to find the best solution for their estate planning needs. For an appointment to see how we can help in your situation, call us at 615-656-8282 or contact us online.