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Attorney Randy Ratliff

Veterans Asset Protection Trusts

Estate Planning Lawyer Representing People in Nashville and Surrounding Areas

There are many types of trusts that may be incorporated into an individual or couple’s overall estate plan or asset protection plan. Whether a trust is advisable depends strongly on a particular person or couple’s situation, however, so it is important to discuss your personal circumstances with a qualified Nashville estate planning lawyer in order to know whether a certain type of trust is suited for you. For example, some people who have previously served in the military may want to consider a veterans asset protection trust.

Attorney Randy Ratliff will be glad to schedule a consultation to go over your needs and structure an estate plan specifically suited to you, taking into account your military service record, your marital status, your income level, your relationship with your children, your current health, and your assets and liabilities. This is much better than a do-it-yourself estate plan from the internet, which can be risky and very expensive in the long run and often causes many more problems than it solves.

People who are just embarking on the estate planning process may have many questions, such as “What is a trust?” or “Which trust will work best for my needs?” Simply put, a trust is a fiduciary relationship between a trustor (the person who establishes the trust, also called a “settlor”) and a second party called a trustee, who manages the property for the beneficiary or beneficiaries of the trust. Sometimes, but not always, the trustor is a beneficiary of the trust. A trust agreement must be set forth in writing in order to be effective. In order to modify or change a trust, it may be necessary to petition the court.

Different Trusts for Different Needs – Is a Veterans Asset Protection Trust Right for You?

Different kinds of trusts are set up for different reasons – some to save a beneficiary from his or her own spending habits (a “spendthrift” trust that directs the trustee to dole out funds based on the beneficiary’s needs rather than his or her wants), and others to avoid probate by transferring one’s assets into the trust entity rather than leaving them in one’s own name. Trusts can sometimes have positive effects on the taxes that are eventually owed on one’s estate. Additionally, trusts can serve the purpose of getting particular assets out of someone’s name so that he or she can be eligible for benefits to which he or she would not otherwise be entitled. A veterans asset protection trust is this kind of trust.

A veterans asset protection trust is an irrevocable trust that usually has as its goal qualifying a veteran for benefits (such as an Aid & Attendance Pension through the Veterans’ Administration) by transferring assets owned by the veteran (or, sometimes, a veteran’s widow) that would otherwise disqualify the veteran or widow for benefits. Whether such a trust is advisable is very fact-dependent and should be discussed with an attorney who regularly handles probate, estate, and trust matters. Some of the relevant factors include the assets currently held by the veteran, future plans to sell major assets, and the likelihood of any need for Medicare or TennCare assistance within the next few years.

Talk to a Nashville Attorney About Devising an Asset Protection Plan

Entering into a trust agreement can be a complex endeavor. The value of retaining an experienced, knowledgeable attorney to help with this process cannot be overstated. At the Randy Ratliff Law Offices, PLLC, we assist people throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including in Nashville, Antioch, Hermitage, Madison, Goodlettsville, Joelton, Franklin, Brentwood, and Cool Springs. We can handle the drafting and administration of trusts, as well as related legal matters such as elder law concerns. If you have questions about a veterans asset protection trust or another estate planning matter, call us at 615-656-8282 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with an attorney. We understand that planning one’s estate or entering into a trust document can be a very sensitive matter, and all of your questions and concerns will be held in the strictest confidence.