What We Do: Estates and Trusts

March 19, 2015
What We Do: Estates and Trusts

At Ball Eggleston, we offer 120+ years of combined Estate Planning experience, which is why financial planners turn to us so often for planning advice and direction. Our expertise gives our clients peace of mind with respect to critical matters that impact their family and loved ones. Take steps to keep your property, finances, and other assets protected for future generations. Our attorneys can work with you to draft documents to ensure your will and trusts do what you want them to do. The team of attorneys at Ball Eggleston is well known throughout Indiana and are experienced in the practice of Estates & Trusts. 

First of all, what is a trust? 

A trust is a fund comprised of a variety of assets intended to provide benefits to an individual or organization. The trust fund is established by a grantor, or an individual who provides the financial property, to provide financial security to an individual, most often a child or grandchild — or organizations, such as charity or other non-profit organization. Trusts funds can be composed of cash, stocks, bonds, property and other types of financial products. The recipient of a trust fund must typically wait until a certain age, or until a specified event occurs, to receive a yearly income from the fund. Prior to this, a single trustee, or a group of trustees, manages the fund by appropriating living expenses and perhaps educational expenses, such as private school or college.

Are there different kinds of trusts?

There are two basic types of trusts: living trusts and testamentary trusts. A living trust or an inter-vivos” trust is set up during the person’s lifetime. A testamentary trust is set up in a will and established only after the person’s death when the will goes into effect.

Living trusts can be either revocable’ or irrevocable’
  • Revocable trusts allow you to retain control of all assets in the trust, and you are free to revoke or change the terms of the trust at any time.
  • With irrevocable trusts, the assets in it are no longer yours, and typically you can’t make changes without the beneficiary’s consent. But the appreciated assets in the trust aren’t subject to estate taxes.
There are many more complicated types of trusts, too, that apply to specific situations. Some include:
  • Credit shelter trusts: With a credit-shelter trust (also called a bypass or family trust), you write a will bequeathing an amount to the trust up to but not exceeding the estate-tax exemption. Then you pass the rest of your estate to your spouse tax-free. Once money is placed in a bypass trust, it is forever free of estate tax, even if it grows.
  • Generation-skipping trusts: Also called a dynasty trust, allows you to transfer a substantial amount of money tax-free to beneficiaries who are at least two generations your junior — typically grandchildren.
  • Qualified personal residence trusts: An irrevocable life insurance trust can remove your life insurance from your taxable estate, help pay estate costs, and provide your heirs with cash for a variety of purposes. To remove the policy from your estate, you surrender ownership rights, which means you may no longer borrow against it or change beneficiaries. In return, the proceeds from the policy may be used to pay an estate costs after you die and provide your beneficiaries with tax-free income.

What is estate planning?

Couple creating an estate and trust plan.
36465684 — happy senior couple planning mortgage financing together for building a house

Estate planning is the process of anticipating and arranging for the disposal of an estate during a person’s life. It typically attempts to eliminate uncertainties over the administration of a probate and maximize the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses. However, the ultimate goal of estate planning is determined by the specific goals of the client and may be as simple or complex as the client’s needs dictate.

What can an estate planning attorney do for you?

An attorney will work with you to evaluate your estate and typically help you establish your will, trust and power of attorney. Creating a will and a plan for your estate reduces uncertainties about the estate’s distribution and helps maximize the estate’s value by decreasing taxes and other expenses.

The first step in the legal process of administering a deceased person’s estate is the receipt of probate. It is the probate court’s role to validate and approve a person’s will. If necessary, the probated will, now a legal document, can be enforced in a court.

Estate planning is definitely not one size fits all,” so it is important to work with an estate planning attorney who has the experience and knowledge to assist you with your unique family and financial situations. You should also feel very comfortable sharing the most intimate details of your life with your estate planning attorney, otherwise your estate plan will fall far short of your expectations.

Aside from this, your estate planning attorney should be well versed in the laws of your state that govern probate, wills, and trusts, otherwise your estate plan may be invalid or simply won’t work the way that you had anticipated.

Estate and Trust services at Ball Eggleston

  • Estates and Trusts: In order to ensure the deceased’s final financial and legal wishes are met, Ball Eggleston’s attorneys, specializing in estates and trusts, will help you navigate through and administer complex these legal issues.
  • Powers of Attorney: A power of attorney assigns an individual the authority to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. Our experienced attorneys will ensure you understand the legal obligations that come with giving and also accepting a power of attorney.
  • Estate Planning: Our estate planning attorneys assist you in planning for the event of your death including the best way to distribute your property, financial assets, and other affairs through the creation of wills, trusts, and a proper beneficiary.
  • Living Wills and Advance Directives: Living wills and other advance directives make plans regarding your health, finances, and other assets in the case that you are living, but incapable of making sounds decisions.
  • Wills and Trusts: Our experienced attorneys work with you to understand your personal needs when it comes to developing wills and trusts. These documents manage and distribute your assets in the event of your death.
  • Elder Law: Well-being and general health concerns regarding an aging person are addressed in elder law. Our attorneys are experienced in many areas of elder law including planning and protection.

You can visit our site to learn more about our Estate & Trust services here.

For more information about our other services visit our website or check out our What We Do blog series.

Couple creating an estate and trust plan.

Ball Eggleston is located at 201 Main Street, Suite 810 P.O. Box 1535 Lafayette, IN 47902. Contact Ball Eggleston by phone at (765) 7429046, by fax at (765) 7421966, or by email at info@​ball-​law.​com. For additional information, find Ball Eggleston online at ballegg.local or see Ball Eggleston’s press kit here. You can also find us on Facebook.

Disclaimer: The content of this blog is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case, or circumstance. Each situation is different, and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.