Trust Attorney in Seattle
Estate planning can be much more than writing a will, so you may need a trust attorney in Seattle. There are many kinds of trusts that can be crafted to fit your needs. Estate planning, including a trust, is not just for the wealthy. It may put in place a way for an asset to be handled that benefits a person or cause you care about.
Our Trust Attorney Focuses on Estate Planning, Including Creating Trust Documents
A Trust Can Accomplish Things a Will or Power of Attorney Cannot
A trust is a fiduciary arrangement allowing a trustee to hold and manage assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries (those who benefit from the trust). Trusts can be set up by a trust attorney in many ways and can specify if, how, and when assets, or income generated by assets, pass to the beneficiaries.
The person creating the trust is the trustor, who, depending on the trust, may also be a trustee and a beneficiary. The trustee must competently handle the assets, not waste them or use them for their own benefit. The trust must be managed solely for the benefit of the beneficiaries while following the trustor’s instructions. If a trustee violates their legal obligations, they could be sued by a beneficiary.
A trust can be funded during the trustor’s life or after their death from their estate’s assets, usually through their will. The asset can be cash, investments, real estate, just about anything with value. Your trust can also be the beneficiary of a life insurance policy.
A beneficiary could start getting benefits while the trustor is alive, after the trustor’s death, or both. The trustor can limit what a trustee can do with the property and set rules to limit when and how a beneficiary can receive income.
A trust’s purpose is nearly unlimited. Under state statute, a trust can be created for a lawful purpose that’s not contrary to public policy and is possible to achieve.
Because trusts can be so complex, learn what options will best benefit you and meet your needs. Call our Seattle trust attorney at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess to ensure you have experienced legal guidance. Reach our team at 206-621-1110.
Trust Lawyers Make Sure the Legal Requirements to Form a Trust Are Met
If a Trust Doesn’t Meet Statutory Requirements, Affected Parties Can File Legal Action to Challenge It
To prevent future problems, including lawsuits, trust lawyers create trusts that will withstand scrutiny. Under Washington State law a trust is created only when:
- The trustor has the capacity to create a trust
- The trustor shows an intent to create a trust
- The trust has a definite beneficiary or is a charitable trust, for the care of an animal, or for a noncharitable purpose
- The trustee has duties to perform
- The same person can’t be the sole trustee and sole beneficiary.
A trust need not be in writing, but it should be so that the trustor’s intent is clear.
A charitable trust is a way to set up your assets to benefit you, your beneficiaries, and a charity. It can have many tax and financial benefits for those who want to set aside high-value assets that they don’t need to support themselves in retirement.
What Types of Trusts Can a Trust Lawyer in Seattle Prepare?
Trusts Are So Flexible, They Can Achieve Many Objectives
The different types of trusts a trust lawyer in Seattle can work on include:
- Inter vivos: These trusts, also called living trusts, are created and funded during the trustor’s life. They can also receive additional funding from the trustor’s estate after they pass away. There are revocable trusts (the trustor can change it) and irrevocable trusts (the trustor can’t change it after it’s created). After the trustor’s death, a revocable trust becomes irrevocable.
- Testamentary: These trusts are created while the person is alive but are funded after their death.
Within these broad categories, a trust can be created to meet your individual needs. Our trust attorney can help. Call the Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess team today at 206-621-1110.
Why Should I Create a Trust?
You Can Benefit Yourself, Charities, Family Members, and Friends
Trusts are often created to benefit family members, friends, or nonprofit organizations. A trust could give a beneficiary a lump sum or income from investments over time. A charity the trustor cares about, through a trust, can be funded possibly for many years after the trustor’s death. Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren could receive cash from a trust or have specific needs (like education, home buying, or healthcare) met.
Trusts Can Benefit Disabled Loved Ones
If a family member is disabled and relies on government benefits, just giving the person assets may be a mistake. They may not be able to wisely handle the money, and this additional wealth could disqualify them from government programs.
People with substance abuse problems or psychiatric conditions may have an improved quality of life because a trust is paying for things that benefits will not. A trust may be a safe way for you to support people you care about without causing them additional problems.
A trust containing your assets and of which you’re the beneficiary could also be used to plan for your own disability or incapacity. This way your trustee will pay your bills and manage your assets if you cannot or no longer want to.
Trusts May Help You Avoid Probate and Estate Taxes while Providing You with Privacy
Trusts can be used to avoid probate, estate taxes, and qualify for Medicaid. Your assets could fund a trust where you are the beneficiary while you’re alive, and another beneficiary, or a group of them, could be the beneficiary after you pass away. Developing trusts are a part of your estate planning process, but there are multiple other considerations involved, so you may want to consult with our estate planning attorney to learn all of your options.
Even if your estate may be too small to face an estate tax, the probate process could be avoided; and, unlike wills, trust documents are not public documents, so who benefits after your death may be kept confidential.
Call our trust attorney in Seattle at 206-621-1110 for help setting up the trust you need. Count on our experience to guide you.
When Can a Trust Be the Subject of a Lawsuit?
Avoiding Mistakes Can Reduce the Risk of Costly Litigation
A trust can be the subject of legal claims for a number of reasons. The possibility of such litigation can be reduced if care is taken in creating the trust and choosing the right person to be the trustee. The trustee must be organized, capable, and honest. Often trustees turn to our Seattle trust attorney at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess to make sure what they’re doing is legal and to prevent possible lawsuits.
- A beneficiary, or possible beneficiary, could file a lawsuit to get what they believe is their rightful inheritance.
- The trustee could file a lawsuit to obtain property that belongs to the trust or to have the court rule on whether their acts are proper.
- The validity of the will could be challenged by those claiming the trustor lacked the mental capacity to create one.
Much of the legal action is focused on the trustee by beneficiaries claiming they’re incompetent or are abusing their position for personal gain. Problems that could lead to a beneficiary starting trust litigation include:
- The trustee refuses to provide a copy of the trust.
- The trustee won’t respond to financial information requests or fails to provide financial information.
- The trustee, after administering the trust for a year or more, refuses to account for their financial handling of the assets, or promises to provide an account but doesn’t do so.
- A beneficiary learns a trustee is taking trust assets that they’re not entitled to have or is using trust assets to benefit themselves, family, or friends.
Lawsuits against a trustee can have many goals, including to:
- Get a copy of the trust
- Obtain financial information
- Have the court instruct the trustee to provide an account of the trust’s assets
- Reclaim property the trustee is using or benefiting from that belongs to the trust
- Suspend the trustee’s powers
- Remove the trustee and appoint a temporary or successor trustee
- Order the trustee to repay the trust for mishandled assets.
Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess prepares trust documents and represents parties involved in trust litigation. We know what gets trusts and trust administration into legal trouble and work hard to prevent it.
Contact Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess’s Seattle Trust Attorneys Today
If you live in the Seattle or Tacoma area and have questions about trusts, or would like one executed as part of your estate plan, call the Seattle trust attorneys at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess at 206-621-1110 today. We have the experience and knowledge you need to set up the trust that best fits your situation.
I highly recommend Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess and if I ever need a lawyer again they will be my first call.
- Jeremy H.
I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate this firm! These guys helped me through one of the most challenging legal situations I’ve faced in my life. Their skill and expertise literally saved my business. I’ve dealt with other counsel in the past but the Dickson firm was by far the most competent and tactful counsel I’ve ever received. I would recommend this group to anyone!
- Keith D.
It’s a pleasure to work with the guys at Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess. One of the first things that stood out to me was how down to earth and friendly everyone at the firm is. I would definitely recommend them.