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Attorney Randy Ratliff

Separate Share Trusts

Estate Planning Lawyer Helping Families in Nashville

Trusts are a popular estate planning tool for many families. Together with more traditional measures such as a last will and testament or a durable power of attorney for healthcare or for financial matters, certain types of trusts can give effect to the wishes of the grantor and provide him or her with the peace and satisfaction of knowing that his or her assets will be passed into the hands of loved ones or a favored charitable organization in the most fiscally efficient manner possible. Nashville estate planning attorney Randy Ratliff regularly provides estate planning advice to middle Davidson and Williamson County residents, including information concerning trusts such as separate share trusts.

Many trusts are drafted with the rules of the Internal Revenue Service as a guiding force. This is especially true when the primary purpose of the trust is to avoid or minimize certain types of federal taxation. Of course, some trusts have other purposes, such that IRS rules may not be as important. In some situations, the primary reason to establish a trust is so that the beneficiary is protected not so much from taxation but from potential creditors or even from themselves and their bad financial habits.

Understanding Trusts as an Estate Planning Tool

Like other types of trusts, a separate share trust is based on a fiduciary relationship in which the trustor (the person establishing the trust, sometimes called a “grantor”) gives a trustee a legal right to hold property for the benefit of a third party (i.e. the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the trust). In a separate share trust, the beneficiaries of the trust may be treated differently from one another, based on the trustor’s intentions and the beneficiaries’ individual needs or situations. Because of the flexibility in establishing different features for each beneficiary within a single trust, separate share trusts can be particularly useful in certain situations.

Not every trust beneficiary has the same financial needs or the same amount of business acumen. One beneficiary may be financially comfortable, while another may be in severe financial need. A particular beneficiary may be able to handle money in a responsible manner, while another may lack these skills or have a large amount of debt, be involved in a complicated marital situation, or suffer from some type of addiction (such as gambling or drugs). A separate share trust allows the trustor to provide for the beneficiaries’ differing needs and situations in a more cost efficient manner than some other possible legal vehicles. If you think that a separate share trust might be something to consider as part of your estate plan, you should talk to a qualified and experienced trust lawyer who can explain the advantages, disadvantages, and potential pitfalls of these types of these types of trusts, as well as advise you concerning alternative legal tools with similar purposes.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney in the Nashville Area

Preparing for the future through an effective and thoughtful estate plan does not have to be difficult. While there can be certain sensitivity in discussing these types of issues, carefully planning now - rather than simply letting things fall as they may later on - is the wise course of action. A well-considered estate plan can save not only money and time later, but also a great deal of hardship, confusion, and potential embarrassment for those left behind, especially when family relationships may already be strained. At the Randy Ratliff Law Offices, PLLC, we provide a wide range of estate planning and other legal services to those in Davidson and Williamson Counties, including Antioch, Madison, Hermitage, Goodlettsville, Franklin, Brentwood, Joelton, Nashville, and Cool Springs. If you are ready to get started on planning for your family’s future needs, call us now at 615-656-8282 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. We also accept domestic relations and elder law cases in the middle Tennessee area.