There are a lot of different estate planning and asset protection planning trusts out there: revocable living trusts, Medi-Cal asset protection trusts, and life insurance trusts are just a few of them. One type of trust that Calabasas trust lawyers find to be useful, though sometimes only in narrow circumstances, is a self-settled trust.
What is a self-settled trust?
A self-settled trust is used to protect financial assets, real estate, personal property, and business assets from future creditors. Like most other trusts, once these assets are transferred into a self-settled trust, they’re legally owned by the trust and not by you. A self-settled trust is an irrevocable trust, which is the key feature in making sure that future creditors cannot reach the assets that are in the trust.
What are the limitations of a self-settled trust?
As mentioned earlier, there are a few limitations to self-settled trusts. The biggest limitation is the fact that they cannot protect assets from past creditors, so any debts incurred before the trust is created are still liable to be paid out from trust assets. Self-settled trusts are also not allowed in a number of states, as many lawmakers were worried that these trusts could be used to wrongfully avoid creditors. Self-settled trusts are legal in the following states:
· New Hampshire
· Rhode Island
· South Dakota
· West Virginia
How do I create a self-settled trust?
If you live in one of the states that allow self-settled trusts and want to create one to avoid future creditors, your first step should be to speak with an attorney who has experience with drafting self-settled trusts. Once you’ve chosen an attorney to create your trust, you’ll have to provide the following information:
· The creditors from whom you want to protect your assets. Many people choose self-settled trusts if they worry about possible accidents or injuries, work in high-risk professions with liabilities, or own a business.
· The trustee of the trust. You cannot choose yourself as the trustee of your own self-settled trust, since that defeats the purpose of the assets no longer being in your control. You’ll need to choose someone you trust or a corporate trustee who can fulfill those duties.
· The assets that will go into the trust. Typically, people will put financial assets and real estate property into their self-settled trust, but everyone’s individual situation is different. You should bring a list of all your assets when you meet with your attorney so you can better determine what assets will go into the trust.
If you’d like to learn more about self-settled trusts and how one can fit into your estate plan, or if you currently have a self-settled trust and would like to have it reviewed by one of our experienced Calabasas trust attorneys, please contact us at (818) 334-2805 to set up a consultation.Report