Estate planning can be confusing and complicated, and your estate plan needs flexibility now more than ever! Why? Because estate  law can shift, the value of property in your estate fluctuates, and your personal circumstances are subject to change. But the unknown doesn’t have to stop you from maximizing the flexibility you want for your family now and in the future.


Here are a few tips to get you started on planning your estate with a focus on short-term and long-term flexibility.


1.  Empower beneficiaries to make changes
As you establish your trust, you can choose to enable your beneficiaries to change the terms of a trust to benefit their own heirs or named charities. For example, a trust may state that upon a beneficiary’s passing, all assets will be split equally among the beneficiary’s 2 children. However, if you plan ahead, you can write the original trust so that it permits the beneficiary to change these terms. If you do this, your beneficiary can customize the allocation of assets to the next beneficiaries.

2. Allow trust assets to be distributed to a new trust, with new terms
You can also create your trust so that you permit the trustee to distribute trust assets to another trust (with different terms) in the interest of one or more beneficiaries of the first trust. With this kind of flexibility, you could give your trustee the power to modify the terms of under certain circumstances.

3. Give the grantor the ability to substitute trust assets for tax purposes
You can allow a helpful level of flexibility that reduces tax liability. With this type of planning, it’s possible to allow a grantor to pay an irrevocable trust’s taxes or substitute low-cost-basis trust assets with high-cost-basis assets in their name to take advantage of a step-up in cost basis at death.

4. Provide special modification powers to trust protectors
A trust protector is someone who has the authority to perform special duties with regard to a trust, such as directing trustees in their administration of the trust. You can enhance overall flexibility by enabling trust protectors to modify certain details of the trust including the physical location of trust assets for the purposes of legal jurisdiction or directing the trustee regarding certain actions, and more.

If you need legal assistance while planning your estate, or want help understanding how to make the most of your estate, it’s time to talk to your dedicated elder law team! Let The Estate, Trust, and Elder Law Firm help you strategize this next season of your life. No matter the size or complexity of your estate, we will work tirelessly to give you and your family the comfort that comes with a flexible estate plan. We serve the treasure coast seniors and those who love them. Call our Stuart office today at 772-261-8556 or contact us online!



The Estate, Trust, and Elder Law Firm, P.L.


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