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How do I establish a Trust that is in line with my, and my family’s, specific needs?

Depending on a number of circumstances, trusts may be established orally, in writing or by conduct. Most trusts involve a number of technical legal concepts relating to ownership, taxes and control. A lawyer can assist in explaining options, considering contingencies and preparing documents.
In creating a trust, you should consider several factors and obligations, including:

  • Your personal situation, including age, health and financial status;
  • Your family relationships and your family's financial circumstances;
  • Personal financial data: personal property, real estate holdings, securities, and other property — as well as your tax situation and any debts or obligations;
  • The purpose of the trust: your goals, or what you hope to accomplish by the arrangement;
  • The type of trust, and how versatile or flexible your plans are.
  • The amount and type of property it will contain;
  • The duration, or how long the trust will last;
  • The beneficiaries and their specific needs;
  • Any conditions that must be met by a beneficiary to receive benefits (such as attaining a certain age);
  • Alternatives for disposing of assets in case the trust conditions are not met or circumstances change; and
  • The trustee, and the conditions or guidelines under which he or she will function.

Dependency exemptions, capital gains and losses, income, gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes also should be considered when planning certain types of trusts. Likewise, you may want to think about naming alternative or contingent beneficiaries and trustees.

Once a trust has been established, a periodic review of the status of the trust is advisable; you may want to obtain professional assistance appropriate to the requirements of the trust.

Trusts Definitions provided by