Living Trusts: Fact and Fiction


THE NY FOREST OWNER 35:3: 6: May/June 1997


By David J. Colligan

Do I need a living trust? This is a question that many of our clients ask themselves. In fact, a number of attorneys are actively marketing living trusts. If you believe that the answer to this question is simple, think again. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to living trusts. They are a good planning tool for some people and not for others. Consider all of the issues before deciding.

What is a Living Trust?

A trust is an agreement. The agreement is between the person setting up the trust (commonly known as the “Grantor” or “Settlor”), and the person or institution that will manage the trust (commonly known as “Trustee”). When creating the trust, the Grantor transfers assets into the name of the Trustee. The trustee is obligated by the trust agreement to hold and distribute those assets pursuant to the terms of the agreement. The person(s) that receive the income from the assets are known as “income beneficiaries.” The person(s) that receive the principal assets are known by a number of terms but most commonly, “remainder beneficiaries.” The income and remainder beneficiaries may be the same individuals but do not have to be. The trustee is a fiduciary. Therefore, in addition to his/her obligations under the agreement, the trustee owes a fiduciary duty to all parties. Continue reading

Have You Checked Your Assessment Lately?


By David J. Colligan
Individuals today are being taxed from all angles. We are required to pay income taxes, property taxes, mortgage taxes, sales taxes, “sin” taxes and the list goes on and on. Most people believe that they are powerless to affect the amount of taxes they pay. This article will discuss some basic considerations as to how an individual can reduce the amount of taxes paid. This can be done by checking the assessed value of your home and challenging that assessment if it is too high. Continue reading