From Our “Ask a Question” Mailbag: “I am an immigrant from Taiwan. I have read some of your articles about Trusts, but can you help explain to me How Trusts Protect Immigrant Families’ Money?”
How Trusts Protect Immigrant Families’ Money.
After living for a year in Beijing, spending several years in Europe, and then being married to a Korean immigrant, I have spent much time explaining Trust Law concepts to immigrants. Trust Laws and rules can be confusing, but I hope this article helps.
Trusts are excellent tools for providing property protection for your surviving spouse and children. But, they are a unique, British Common Law creation that doesn’t exist in most of the world. Because of their origin, many immigrants to the United States are unfamiliar with these fantastic tools.
To learn more about the basics of trusts, please follow this link to my Blog Trusts Explained for Immigrants.
If you feel comfortable with your knowledge of Trusts, then let me explain How Trusts Protect Immigrant Families’ Money.
Trusts Provide a Wall of Protection Around Your Child’s Inheritance During a Divorce.
Your will can create a trust to hold your assets for your child. The child can serve as the trustee, but you can also pick a relative or a bank. The trustee can then pay for your child’s expenses. As long as the money doesn’t go into the child’s name, it is safe from being included in your child’s divorce. If your child gets divorced, your child will divide up the marital property. You put your money into the trust. The trust owns the money, not your child. If the money is not in your child’s name, then it cannot be marital property with the spouse.
- Example: Mr. Lee dies. He had his estate planning lawyer draft a trust that forms a trust for his daughter, Wang Fang. Wang Fang serves as the trustee. As the trustee, she invests the money in rental real estate and stocks. Wang Fang gets married. Her husband cheats on her, so she files for divorce. Her husband gets half of Wang Fang’s property, but nothing that Mr. Lee put into the trust. The rental properties and stocks in the trust belong to the trust and not to Wang Fang. The trust did not marry the husband, so he has no right to claim any of the trust assets.
Trusts Provide a Wall of Protection Around Your Child’s Inheritance From Creditors.
- Example: Mrs. Zhang has her estate planning lawyer draft her a will that forms a trust for her son, Wang Wei. Mrs. Zhang dies, and all her stocks pour into the trust. She named a Trust Company as trustee. The trust company invests the money. Wang Wei starts a company that does well for a few years, then fails. He has many creditors. Wang Wei’s creditors cannot reach the funds in Mrs. Zhang’s trust. The trust has no creditors; it did not take out any loans or co-sign any notes.
Trusts Can Make Sure Your Estate Stays In the Family.
Your Will can form a trust that gives your child the right to say where any remaining money passes at the child’s death. Or, you can have a trust that requires trust assets to remain in your bloodline. How Trusts Protect Immigrant Families’ Money? Often they do so by excluding daughters-in-law and sons-in-law from sharing with the inheritance.
- Example: Mrs. Ping has her estate planning lawyer draft her a will that forms a trust for her son, Li Qiang. Mrs. Ping dies, and all her stocks pour into the trust. She named a Trust Company as trustee. The trust company invests the money, focusing on investing for Li Quang’s retirement. Mrs. Ping’s instructions were to build the trust fund and to only spend the money on Li Qiang in case of emergencies and whatever remains continues in trust for her grandchildren.
- Li Qiang marries Li Xiu Ying. They quickly have three children. Li Qiang starts a business, which does very well. Li Qiang later dies. He gives everything he owned, including the company, to Li Xiu Ying. But because he didn’t own anything in the trust, he was not able to give his wife anything from the trust. Therefore, Li Xiu Ying gets nothing from the trust. If Mrs. Ping had not used the trust and instead she gave her son all her money, then Li Xiu Ying would have gotten all of Mrs. Ping’s money.
- Li Xiu Ying remarries, and at her death, she gives the company to her new husband. Li Xiu Ying gives nothing to her children. At Li Qiang’s death, the trust changed from being a trust for Li Qiang into a trust for Mrs. Ping’s grandchildren. The trust company uses Mrs. Ping’s trust to help her grandchildren. Mrs. Ping’s money stays in her family.
Follow this link for more information about Irrevocable Trusts.
Is Setting Up a Trust Expensive?
No, creating most trusts is not expensive. Most state governments, including Pennsylvania and New Jersey, have established Trust Acts allowing knowledgeable Estate Planners like ourselves to form trusts like those described above and low prices. For no cost, we are happy to speak to you about your situation. Let’s develop a plan, and then I can give you a quote. You will likely be surprised how inexpensive protecting your family can be. Give us a call to set up a phone conference.
In Conclusion: How Trusts Protect Immigrant Families’ Money.
I hope you found this short article about Trusts helpful. I have also included some links for more detailed information. If you are curious about trusts, contact us, and let our Estate Planning Lawyers help walk you through what can be a confusing process.
My Chinese is not good enough to explain these matters without the help of a translator. We can help locate a translator if you need one.
To begin with, call to speak to one of our Estate Planning Attorneys. By all means, our lawyers are ready to answer your questions. Feel free to contact our office for a free consultation. Ultimately our goal is to make the process as painless as possible!
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