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Trusts: impressive multi-purpose estate planning tools

It's logical for many Arkansas residents to think quickly of a will when it comes to thoughts of estate planning.

And, indeed, there is a strong reason to focus first and foremost on that planning tool. For most people, a will is in fact the main document involved in estate administration.

There are other legal tools that also contribute great value, though, and work in harmony with wills to promote planning goals.

Perhaps the most important of all of them is the trust. We note on our website at the experienced estate planning law firm of Robertson, Oswalt & Associates in Little Rock that trusts "have many advantages, even as part of a simple estate plan."

For starters, a well-conceived and properly drafted trust can effectively shield your loved ones from claims of other parties who are trying to seize assets. Wealth that is positioned in a trust legally belongs to that trust, with a trustee disbursing it to beneficiaries in a manner specified by its creator.

The result: Would-be creditors in a lawsuit, divorce or other type of action cannot proceed against a beneficiary when making a claim on a trust asset.

A trust can also be an ideal mechanism for managing money intended to benefit a loved one with special needs. Trusts are additionally created by estate planners who want to control income distributions to loved ones in the future, give to charitable groups, gain certainty regarding a family business -- even provide for pets after a creator's passing.

A recent national article on trusts sums them up by noting that they "are extremely flexible and can cover a wide range of goals and needs."

An experienced estate administration attorney can provide further information.

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