Trusts 2019-10-24T17:14:30-05:00


Everyone has different estate planning goals and while a trust may be useful for some, it may not be as beneficial for others. Talking to an attorney about your estate planning goals, rather than filling out a blanket form online, will determine whether establishing a trust is in your best interests.

Below is a list of commonly-used trusts that may benefit your estate plan:

Testamentary Trust | Revocable Living Trust

A testamentary trust is created within an individual’s Last Will and Testament. This kind of trust does not take effect until the Settlor’s death. Read more about the purposes for creating a testamentary trust on our Last Will and Testament page here. Learn more HERE. (Link to Wills page)

Unlike the testamentary trust, a revocable living trust takes effect while the Settlor is still alive. Some common purposes for creating a revocable living trust are to avoiding probate and managing real property.

Supplemental Needs Trust

Supplemental Needs Trusts (commonly referred to as “Special Needs Trusts”) are useful tools for leaving property to a child or other family member with special needs relying on government benefits. If that child or family member were to suddenly inherit a large sum of money or other property, the inheritance could disqualify them for those benefits until they spend down the entire inheritance. Supplemental Needs Trust protect the individuals’ government benefits qualifications while providing them a “supplemental” source of funds through controlled distributions.

Benefits of a Revocable Living Trust

  • Avoiding NC Probate | Typically, any distribution of your assets after your death pursuant to the terms of a trust agreement may also be accomplished in a will. However, by using a trust to make such distributions rather than a will, you avoid the headache and expense of a complex probate process.

  • Avoiding Probate in Other States | If you transfer the real property located in another state into your living trust before you die, then ancillary administration is avoided because the trust owns the real property at the time of your death, not you.

  • Planning for Incapacity | If you become mentally or physically unable to make decisions, a successor trustee that you appointed in the trust agreement takes over control of the assets in the trust and is under fiduciary duties of loyalty and care to make use of your assets for your benefit.

Trusts for Minors

Although most commonly accomplished through a testamentary trust, parents will often create a trust for their children or grandchildren who are minors or children who are just not at a stage in their life where they are financially responsible. A carefully prepared trust can be used to distribute money to children for their education, support, medical needs, etc. without making the entire inheritance readily accessible for the child.

Trust for Pets

Pet Trusts are growing in popularity today. The pet trust works to provide funds for the care, maintenance, and medical needs of pets that the Settlor may leave behind when they pass away. A Pet Trust can designate who the Settlor wants to be responsible for the care of their pets and define the specific trust use of distributions.


For a trust to be valid, it must be funded by some form of property. Sometimes there will be a list of the personal property that the grantor has placed in the trust, or the trust will state that a small dollar amount was given to the trustee. Once the trust is created, the grantor should continue to add property to the trust, depending on the purpose for which the trust was created.

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