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     Asset Protection with Heritage Trusts      

Long before Estate Planning became an everyday term, a Last Will and Testament was often the one legal document someone might have prepared for themselves or their family. A will is a basic document that allows people to express their wishes in regard to how they want affairs handled and property distributed after their death.

For any will to be valid, however, it must go through a process called probate, which can be time consuming (12-18 months on average) and can be costly – perhaps up to 8% of the value of an individual’s assets. To bypass the probate process, more legal options have become available for people who wish to distribute and protect their assets. These legal documents are known as trusts.

Wills and trusts can work together and are important pieces of an estate plan. At Beck, Lenox & Stolzer Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC (Beck, Lenox & Stolzer), we’ve served St. Charles County and the state of Missouri for nearly 50 years. We now also serve the West Central Illinois area. Our will and trust lawyers appreciate that every person’s situation is unique. Our goal is to make the process as simple as possible.

Heritage Trust

This is a special trust set up by parents for their children, that protects the assets from debt collectors, bankruptcy or divorce proceedings. In order to keep the assets protected, anything purchased should be titled in the trust’s name, such as a house purchase. This is typically a revocable trust when it is created, meaning that it can be changed while the trustor or creator of the trust is still alive.

A Heritage trust is an increasingly popular means for a parents(s) to leave an inheritance for their child(ren). Co-created by Beck, Lenox & Stolzer, a Heritage trust is usually not funded until both parents are deceased. Here are more details about benefits offered by this trust:

Benefit #1- Asset Protection

The funds in a Heritage Trust are protected from creditors and bankruptcy court, as well as from creditors that may arise through everyday mishaps or unforeseen events, such as: a business deal that goes awry; being sued because someone was injured on your property; a collision with an uninsured or under-insured driver; working in a high-risk occupation; or paying off large, uninsured medical expenses.

Benefit #2- Divorce Protection

With the divorce rate in the United States hovering between 40 – 50%, many parents are concerned that the financial gift intended for their children may end up in the hands of a child’s former spouse. In the event of a divorce, the funds in a Heritage Trust are not considered marital property, no matter where the divorce occurs.

Benefit #3- Protection for Grandchildren

If a Trustee inherits assets within a Heritage Trust and then passes away, the trust’s assets will remain within that trust and pass on to his or her children. The children continue to receive the protection afforded by the original Heritage Trust.

Benefits #4- IRA Proceeds Protection

A Heritage Trust facilitates the protection of IRA proceeds payable to the Trust.

Drafting Trusts to Protect Your Estate

At Beck, Lenox & Stolzer, our attorneys have helped thousands of families secure peace of mind that their wishes will be carried out upon their passing and that their survivors won’t have to deal with the stresses of legal action or invalid documents.

Our team of will and trust attorneys in St. Charles will meet with you to review your goals and determine if a Heritage Trust may be appropriate for your unique situation. Contact our office to book a call with one of the attorneys at Beck, Lenox & Stolzer Estate Planning and Elder Law, LLC.

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