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Living Trusts

Trusts Attorney in Columbus, Ohio

It’s strange to think about planning for your own death, but there are multiple reasons to consider your estate planning options. Trusts and other estate planning legal documents can help your loved ones understand how you intend to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries. Furthermore, an estate plan simplifies your estate administration process, saving both time and money. 

At Sheppard Law Offices, we offer a personalized approach to trusts and estates that are tailored to your and your loved ones’ needs. Many people believe they don’t need estate planning services because they aren’t “wealthy.” But there are numerous benefits in estate planning regardless of your estate size. 

Our experienced Columbus trusts attorneys can explain complex estate planning concepts in terms that ensure you fully understand your options. Discover how we can help you set up an effective trust for you and your family! Reach out to us now.


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Why do I need a Trusts Lawyer in Ohio?

When you begin to make plans for how you will hand down your possessions and assets to the people you care about, you will inevitably be faced with the possibility of having to make some challenging choices regarding your possessions. And you  may be confused and unsure what would be your best step. 

The following are some scenarios in which working with our competent trusts lawyers in Columbus, Ohio to create a living trust will benefit you:

  • When your trust will include conditions
  • When you will have to pay estate taxes
  • When you are unsure of what to include in a trust 
  • When it is necessary to skip generations
  • When you have a significant amount of life insurance
  • When a beneficiary is disabled or receives government assistance
  • When you require assistance in transferring your assets

It is a mistake to believe that you do not require an estate plan. It is highly recommended that you speak with our legal team at Sheppard Law Offices about all of the ways trusts and other estate plans can benefit you. From estate planning to execution we are here to help you. We will gladly answer all your questions. So what are you waiting for? Contact us today!

What are Trusts?

The Estate Planning process is comprised of two important components: a Last Will and Testament and Trusts. While most people understand the purpose and structure of a will, trusts can be more difficult to understand. Trusts have a more complex legal structure than wills. And with so many different types of trusts available, it can be difficult to know which is right for you. 

A trust is a fiduciary arrangement that specifies how your assets will be distributed, typically without the intervention of a probate court. They can be set up to take effect before, after, or in the event of incapacity. Depending on your assets and family situation, establishing a trust can be simple or difficult.

A trust, like a will, is a way to ensure that your property is distributed to your loved ones in accordance with your wishes. A trust, unlike a will, can begin operating as soon as it is signed and funded, as opposed to a will, which does not take effect until the person dies.

If you want to know more about how trust is best suited for you and your family, get in touch with our qualified trust attorney in Columbus, Ohio immediately. 

Types of Trusts in Ohio

There are a variety of trust agreements available to pick from, and your decision should be based on the objectives you wish to achieve. You need to think about both the benefits and the drawbacks associated with each type. Our well-experienced Columbus trust attorneys in estate planning are able to provide you with advice regarding the type of trust agreement that is most appropriate for you to employ depending on the objectives and goals that you have. 

Listed below are the five forms of trust agreements that are utilized most frequently in the state of Ohio.

Revocable Trusts

A revocable living trust can be modified at any time. Using a trust amendment, you can revise the trust if you have reconsiderations in any provisions in the terms of the trust, such as changing the beneficiary. If you decide that the trust no longer serves your purposes, you can annul or revoke the entire trust. A revocable trust also allows you to plan for mental incapacity, as a successor can manage the trust’s assets if you become mentally incapacitated.

Although revocable trusts provide considerable flexibility, the assets transferred to the trust are still considered your personal property.  A revocable living trust becomes an irrevocable trust when the grantor dies and can no longer make changes to the trust. You can, however, designate a revocable trust to become a separate irrevocable trust upon your passing. These irrevocable trusts can be established for the benefit of your children or other beneficiaries.

Irrevocable Trusts

When establishing an irrevocable trust, you establish the trust and then step aside. You cannot retrieve property or assets you have placed in the trust, nor can you act as trustee. Once the trust is created and funded, and the agreement is signed, the trust agreement cannot be modified.

Individuals utilize irrevocable trusts to avoid paying property tax upon the grantor’s death. Since the grantor transfers the trust’s assets permanently to the trustee and beneficiaries, the grantor no longer owns the assets. The assets do not contribute to the value of the estate and are therefore exempt from estate taxes.

Testamentary Trusts

A testamentary trust is a trust that is outlined in a will. The assets that will be transferred into the trust will remain in your personal possession while you are alive.

In a testamentary trust or trust in a will, you would name an executor in your will to act as estate administrator after your death. And you would include the testamentary trust in your will. It would direct the executor to establish the trust after your death, and you would appoint a trustee to manage it.

The executor can also serve as trustee, which is a more efficient option, but it is not required. This type of trust is frequently used by parents with dependent children who are too young to handle direct inheritances. Another reason to use a testamentary trust is to provide resources for someone who is dependent on need-based government benefits like a senior citizen or a disabled person.

Because this trust is within a will, it will not escape the probate process. It will be admitted to probate, a legal process that occurs under the supervision of a court. Even if a testamentary trust is established, the court will be involved in the administration process.

Special Needs Trusts

Many people, including parents, use special needs trusts for a variety of reasons. A person who is disabled or has special needs may benefit from having their assets held in a special needs trust so that they remain eligible for public benefits. 

The beneficiary does not get the revenue from the trust directly, but it is used toward meeting their need instead. For instance, the trust pays for special medical equipment for the person by paying the company directly for the equipment. Trusts for people with special needs require careful drafting to ensure they are in accordance with all applicable state and federal regulations.

Retirement Trust

With the use of this specific trust agreement, you will be able to shield an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) from the claims of creditors and keep the money safe for the beneficiaries you designate. Because the funds are not transferred to the beneficiary in one go, they are able to continue growing within the trust without being subject to immediate or immediate taxation.

When Should I Have a Trust?

Everyone does not require trust. You probably do not require a trust if you are a single person who does not have any children, you do not own significant assets, and you rent your home or apartment. A trust is an excellent financial planning tool to utilize when you have young children, a child who has special requirements, or significant assets in your possession.

The following are some common reasons for establishing trust:

  • Avoiding the probate process, as well as the associated costs and time
  • A trust provides more control over your assets
  • Keeping assets safe for children until they are old enough to own them
  • Estate tax avoidance or reduction
  • Being more flexible than a will
  • Managing assets when the settlor is unable to do so
  • Keeping finances out of the public eye in probate court
  • Low maintenance 
  • Trusts can protect your loved ones in worst-case scenarios 
  • The structure of Trusts can assist children with special needs
  • Complex assets can be properly divided using Trusts
  • Ensure everyone in your family is taken care of with a Trust

Having a trust does not automatically result in lower estate taxes. To avoid or reduce your estate tax liability, you will need an irrevocable trust with the necessary terms. If you believe your net worth is approaching the estate tax exemption, you should speak with an estate planning attorney.

Elements of a Living Trust: How Do I Make a Trust?

For a document to be considered a valid living trust, it must contain all of the following elements:

  1. Trust’s creator (your name if it’s your trust). The person who establishes the trust can also be called a settlor, grantor, or trustor. 
  2. Trustee. The trustee is the person in charge of managing the trust (again, if it is your trust, this is your name).
  3. Alternate trustee. When the original trustee dies or becomes incapacitated, the trustee who will manage the trust and distribute the property takes over. Typically, this is a spouse, close friend, or adult child.
  4. Delegated trustees for minors. The trustees will manage any property left to minors. When children or young adults inherit property from a trust, the property is often managed by a delegated trustee until they reach a mature and competent age to manage it themselves.
  5. Names of beneficiaries. The trust’s beneficiaries are the people who will receive the trust’s assets (the same as in a will).
  6. Asset distribution. How the assets are to be distributed to the beneficiaries should be included in the trust. You may also include conditions in the asset distribution.

A trust document does not have to be registered with the state. It is valid and in effect as soon as it is completed and executed in accordance with the state of Ohio’s laws. If you are thinking about establishing a trust, it is a good idea to consult with a Columbus trust attorney who is well-versed in Ohio trust law.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Trusts

Here are some of the benefits and disadvantages of you should take into consideration when deciding if creating a trust is for you and which option best serves your interest.

Advantages of Trusts

  • Avoids probate court
  • Distributes assets to beneficiaries more quickly
  • Personal and financial matters remain private
  • You maintain control of your finances 
  • Reduce the possibility of a court challenge
  • Prevent a conservatorship
  • Lower estate and gift taxes
  • Can cover medical and other expenses as well as give for scholarships
  • Limited liability is possible if a corporate trustee is appointed
  • Trust income is generally taxed as income of an individual
  • Put restrictions on how and when your assets will be distributed after your death
  • Improve your asset protection against creditors and lawsuits
  • Name a successor trustee, who will not only manage your trust after your death but will also be able to manage the trust assets if you become unable to do so

Disadvantages of Trusts

  • Expensive to create 
  • Costly to maintain
  • Sometimes, costs exceed advantages
  • Without court supervision
  • Trust must be funded with assets in order to protect them
  • Trust must be updated and funded on an ongoing basis

Trusts FAQs

What is the difference between a will and a trust?

There are significant differences between wills and trusts as estate planning instruments. A will is the foundation of an estate plan because it prevents the state from distributing your assets in accordance with its inheritance laws. Without the need for probate, a trust can hold your assets during your lifetime and transfer them to your heirs after your death.

Do I need Trust if I have a Will?

Depending on your legal and financial needs, you may require a Trust even if you have a Will. While a Will names your beneficiaries and specifies how assets will be distributed, Trusts give you more control over these aspects. Trusts can also enable more complex Estate Planning structures, which is especially useful for those with large or blended families.

Do Trusts Avoid Probate?

Depending on their structure, the majority of Trusts completely avoid probate. Trusts facilitate the transfer of assets from one person to another, thereby avoiding probate court proceedings and their associated expenses.

How Long Does a Trustee Have to Distribute Assets?

There is no precise limit on the number of days a trustee has to distribute assets. When the Trust is ready to enter the distribution phase, the trustees should anticipate making the distribution. Beneficiaries may utilize legal recourse to remedy unreasonable delays, errors, and failure to comply with the Trust’s terms.

Call our Competent Trusts Attorney in Columbus, Ohio Now!

You earned your wealth through your hard work, now let’s create a plan to keep it safe for you and your family. We fully understand your desire to preserve and protect your wealth for the benefit of succeeding generations, regardless of your walk of life.

Our team of seasoned Columbus trust attorneys at Sheppard Law Office will develop individualized plans to assist you to feel sure that your objectives are being met while we look out for your family’s future. Together, we will achieve more than just the protection of your money. We ensure that you will have a legacy that you will be able to look back on with satisfaction.

Are you ready to create your own legacy? Dial our number now and schedule a free consultation!

Our Estate Planning Attorneys Serve the Following Areas

Sheppard Law Offices, Co., L.P.A. serves individuals, families, and small businesses throughout central Ohio and the state of Ohio. With estate planning and probate offices in the following.

We represent clients in several counties in Ohio, including Franklin County, Delaware County, Licking County, Knox County, Stark County, and Summit County, as well as in communities such as Columbus, Dublin, Upper Arlington, Westerville, Newark, Granville, Utica, Mount Vernon, Massillon, Medina, Barberton, Dover, and New Philadelphia.

Our Columbus Estate Planning Lawyer Can Help!

Sheppard Law Office can make the estate planning process easy for you. Available across any of our three Ohio locations in Columbus, Mt Vernon and Newark, our team of probate, estate planning, and tax attorneys can offer you clear and compassionate legal advice seasoned by decades of practical experience and a deep understanding of Ohio inheritance laws. 

Contact Sheppard Law Offices today to schedule a free consultation.

Sheppard Law Offices


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