Tag: Creditor

What Is a Spendthrift Trust in Illinois?

If you have a relative who is bad with money but needs support, you may want to form a spendthrift trust. Many people have someone close to them who cannot manage their own money. A relative may have a gambling problem, have a mental impairment, have a lot of debt, or just need help handling finances. You might be surprised to learn that estate planning could allow you to provide for and protect a family member who is like this.

The Perils of Supporting a Family Member Who Is Bad with Money

You may think that giving money outright to a relative is the best option, even if he or she is bad with money. Or you might want to put money in an ordinary trust for the relative’s benefit. Neither of these methods are usually your best option for a few reasons:

  • Your relative may spend all the money right away
  • Creditors could access the money (even if in a trust) to satisfy debts
  • You may owe gift taxes depending on the size of your gift
  • You lose any control over how the relative spends the money

Instead, consider starting a spendthrift trust to both provide for and protect your relative.

What Is a Spendthrift Trust?

A spendthrift trust is a special type of trust that give the trustee full authority to decide how to spend trust distributions for the beneficiary’s benefit. The trust’s language explains how often the trustee needs to make distributions and may specify the amount to be spent. In addition, the trust language must include a special “spendthrift clause” explaining the settlor’s intent that the trust be a spendthrift one.

Because the beneficiary of a spendthrift trust has no authority to spend or receive trust distributions as he wishes, most creditors cannot access those distributions to satisfy debts. The typical exceptions are debts like child support, alimony, and payment for “necessaries” like food and shelter.

It is very important that your spendthrift trust include the necessary language and have an appropriate trustee. If the trust is not set up right, creditors could go after the distributions and your trust would not have the effect you expected. Talk to a lawyer about how to set up a spendthrift trust to benefit a relative.

Want to create a spendthrift trust or another type of trust? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.

Can Creditors Seek Repayment of Debts from Your Estate?

If you are in debt, you might hope that the creditors will go away after you die. Your relatives shouldn’t have to pay back the debts that you owe, right? Unfortunately, the law does allow creditors to seek repayments of debts from your estate.

How Can Creditors Get Paid from Your Estate?

After you pass away, your executor or representative will gather your assets and distribute them to your heirs. Before your heirs get anything, though, the executor must notify creditors of your death. The creditors can choose to assert claims against the value of your estate.

These claims get paid off before your heirs receive any money. If you do not have liquid assets, like cash, the executor may need to sell things to raise cash for the debts. If your debts exceed the value of your assets, then each creditor will be paid for a portion of his or her claim. But your heirs will receive nothing.

Asset Protection Strategies

There are ways to protect your assets from creditors, even after death. Creditors can only make claims against your estate – that is, everything that you owned individually before your death. Assets owned by a trust or business, or those co-owned with a second person, may be protected from creditor access. However, creditors may be able to access business assets if you were the sole owner, and they could access your portion of co-owned assets in some cases.

Also, there are laws in place to prevent people in debt from “hiding” assets from creditors by changing the assets’ ownership. You must be very careful when setting up asset protection strategies to stay within the law. For that reason, it is often best to think about asset protection before you get into debt. Alternatively, talk to a lawyer to see if you have other options.

As discussed above, creditors can access any assets that are part of your estate. Assets left in trust to beneficiaries that are not your estate, however, are usually protected because the trust owns them, not you. If you plan ahead now by creating a trust, you may save your heirs from disappointment when creditors take a large portion of the assets.

Want to start planning your estate? Local attorney Andrew Szocka, Esq. provides thorough and speedy estate planning help in the Chicagoland area. To schedule a free initial consultation, visit the Law Office of Andrew Szocka, P.C. online or call the office at (815) 455-8430.

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