To be on the outside of a language can be a tough thing. At least when it comes to French or Italian (or Hindu, Swahili or Balinese, if you happened to be that well-travelled), most us of who cannot speak a lick can get through with pointing and smiling.
Without a doubt, the language of trusts is a technical language. In fact, this foreign language can intimidate even the savviest practitioners. And, without a doubt, the language of trusts is a powerful language and the trust, in its many flavors, is a powerful tool.
How can you learn the lingo?
If you have not run into the technical language of trusts just yet, you should know that it is a world of acronyms and alphabet soup. You would do well to have flash cards for a litany of trusts such as the GRAT, CRUT, CRAT, NING, DING, QTIP, and so on.
Alternatively, you can learn a bit more of the lingo by clicking over to a recent New York Times article titled “The Argot of Trusts, as Told in Acronyms.”
Each acronym and each form of trust for which it stands should be taken on its own to do it justice. Nevertheless, the nature of the trust as a tool is the common factor in Overland Park and elsewhere.
Trusts are powerful machines that can be defined in very particular ways, not unlike backhoes, iPhones and all manner of electric dog polishers. Each is a very different machine because it is made to do very different things. Such is the case with things like GRATs, CRUTs, and generic revocable trusts.
Do not let the technical language get in the way, but do ask the right questions. Namely, what do I need to accomplish? What trust can accomplish my goals and is it the best route?
Not every trust is right for everyone or every asset, and some will not be better off with a trust of any make or model. Indeed, finding the right trust, or finding out if a trust is right at all, is about weighing your goals and assets. In this respect, a seasoned estate planning attorney is essential when it comes to teaching you the language, serving as translator, and forming the right plan for you.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: The New York Times (March 28, 2014) “The Argot of Trusts, as Told in Acronyms”