McDonald Warner - Probate, Elder Law, & Special Needs

Using more than one trust in estate planning

When people in Arizona think about how to care for their loved ones after they are gone, they may be drawn by the flexibility and higher level of control provided by trusts. In addition, using trusts allows people to inherit outside the probate process. While they are less necessary for tax purposes than in the past given the large increases in exemptions from federal estate taxes, there are a number of reasons why people may opt for trusts to pass on their property.

Some people may wonder if it is possible to have more than one trust. People can definitely create several trusts, but these are generally better intended to address different types of assets and distributions rather than the same type of property distribution. It is possible to amend, revoke or completely replace a trust by executing a new document that replaces the original trust completely, but this is an amendment to the initial trust rather than a second trust. In most cases, if people simply want to pass on a specific asset to a particular person, they can create a provision beside the general distribution paragraph that specifies which person will receive that property.

In some cases, people may want to create a second trust for specific reasons. People may want to create a charitable trust for the purpose of directing some assets to charity, or they may want to create a special needs trust to provide financial security and protection for a child with special needs. This type of vehicle allows the child to remain eligible for important public benefits.

People who are thinking about the future may benefit significantly from the flexible options available with trusts. An estate planning attorney may advise people about the choices available and draw up the estate documents that help them to achieve their goals.

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