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Selecting the right trust

Some Oklahoma residents mindful of estate planning sway back and forth on the idea of starting a trust. In general, a trust is either living or testamentary, with the latter type taking effect only after the trustor's death. Living trusts can be further divided into those that are irrevocable and those that are revocable.

In an irrevocable trust, the owner of the trust forfeits ownership of its assets and the right to make amendments without the consent of the intended beneficiary. On the other hand, discretion is retained by the trustor in a revocable trust, and that owner is free to change the terms of the trust. However, one of the advantages of an irrevocable trust is that its appreciated assets are not necessarily subject to estate taxes, which may not hold true for some revocable trusts.

In addition, there are other forms of trusts that can be used in tailor fashion to fit particular situations and needs. For example, someone may choose to establish a qualified personal residence trust, which removes the value of an owner's home from calculations of the value of their estate. This form of trust can be beneficial if the home is expected to appreciate in value over time. Similarly, trusts can be established that skip generations so that the beneficiaries are two or more generations removed from the owner.

People who wish to establish a trust might want to consult an attorney regarding their specific situation and needs. Given the variety of trusts available, it may be possible to establish one that is completely sufficient for an individual's given circumstances.

Source: CNN Money, "What kinds of trusts are there?", December 07, 2014

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