Our Cape Girardeau trust attorney helps a wide variety of people plan for their future and their family’s future. One common estate planning document is a trust. It’s a very versatile tool that may be very helpful for you and your family. When you hear the word “trust,” you may think that only the very wealthy need them, but that’s not the case. The Birk Law Firm can craft a trust to meet your needs both now and into the future.

Our Cape Girardeau Trust Attorney Explains How a Trust Can Help You

A trust gives you several options and allows you to manage your assets in many ways. It…

  • May allow you to protect your wealth from taxes and pass it on to others.
  • Can provide for you in case you become disabled and unable to make your own decisions.
  • Can support the charity of your choice now and or after you pass away.
  • Could support a disabled child while he or she qualifies for government assistance.

There are many kinds of trusts to reach any number of goals. They can be very simple or complex; they may be funded with minimal assets or with substantial wealth. No matter what kind of trust a Missouri trust lawyer puts together, they have these elements in common:

  • It is a legal document.
  • It involves a third party (the trustee).
  • It allows the trustee to maintain and or distribute financial assets on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries (who get the value from the trust).
  • The trustee does so according to the instructions of the person creating the trust (the grantor or settlor).

While some concepts related to trusts are fairly straightforward, it is best to rely on the knowledge of an experienced trusts attorney to provide you with all your planning options before you make a final decision. Trust attorney Kelvin Birk is also a CPA, and he provides estate planning services. When you turn to Kelvin Birk for help, you are getting the skill sets and experience of two professions. Let him help you make the best plans for your future and for those you wish to be beneficiaries of your trust. Call our team today at 573-332-8585.

Our Trust Attorney Can Help You Attain Your Goals

There are numerous options available to you when you set up a trust. It may benefit you, your spouse, family members, or a charity. Not all trusts are “set in stone” — you might be able to change it later on. However, to benefit from various laws and tax issues, you may create a trust you can’t change. In the world of trusts, one size does not fit all. Our team of skilled family law attorneys specializing in trusts will create what’s right for you, depending on what you want to accomplish and the facts of your situation.

Planning for Your Children’s Needs with Wills and Trusts

There are several ways you can plan for the well-being of your children if they are young when you pass away. If you pass away without a will, your assets will go to your next of kin. With a will, you can designate distribution of your assets to your heirs. A will allows for additional planning for your heirs, too. You can plan for the oversight of finances and legal decisions for your children, should you die while your children are young. You can nominate a guardian to make legal decisions for them through a will. A trust can protect your children, whether they’re young or adults, by offering additional planning options for your children. You can create a trust for their benefit by funding it with your assets and/or insurance proceeds. If you establish a guardianship as well as a trust, the trustee and guardian could be the same person.

Do you have an adult child who is disabled and cannot make their own decisions or who suffers from substance abuse and can’t be trusted with money? For a disabled child, a trust can provide the support they need, whether you’re around or not, in a way that allows them to qualify for government benefits. For a child suffering from substance abuse, the trustee can be directed to expend the child’s funds on getting them the help they need instead of paying the money directly to the child.

Our Missouri Trust Lawyer Can Create the Right Trust for You and Your Family

Types of Trusts Attorney Kelvin Birk Can Help Establish for You

Testamentary Trusts

A testamentary trust becomes a public document as part of your will and has no power or effect until it’s probated, but it can help you reach many estate planning goals in ways a will cannot. They can create a less expensive estate plan with provisions for minor children. A will can also contain a “pour over” provision, because assets from the estate “pour over” into a trust to fund its mission.

Revocable or Living Trusts

You can change or end them as you want. They are the most common trusts and are usually used to manage assets, avoid probate, and accomplish some tax planning. A living trust typically allows a person’s estate to avoid probate, while testamentary trusts become valid only when a will is probated.

Protection, Medicaid Asset Protection (or MAP) Trust

Your assets could be put in a trust established for your benefit, funding your needs and lifestyle. Because the trust, not you, owns these assets, you may qualify for Medicaid. This way, you need not “spend down” your wealth to qualify for the program. There’s a “look back” period, so these changes must be made well before you need long-term care in order to protect the most assets.

Supplemental Needs or Special Needs Trusts

They allow the grantor to provide for the ongoing care of a disabled spouse, child, relative, or friend while allowing the beneficiary to also receive public benefits. Though the person benefits from the trust, it’s not the person’s asset, so he or she still qualifies for public help.

Pet Trusts

We love our pets. Many of us worry about who would take care of them if we can’t, and how they would do it. Should a disability or death mean our pets need a different caretaker, we can name a trustee to be in charge of assets that can fund their care.

Helpful Hints from Our Trust Attorney

You need to choose the right trustee.

He or she will have access to your assets and wealth. It could be embezzled by someone dishonest or be wasted by someone incompetent or disorganized. The person must follow the trust’s directions and act in a way that benefits the beneficiaries. If not, the beneficiaries could sue the trustee. The trustee could use trust assets to fund their defense, so picking the wrong person could be very costly. You must find someone reliable who’s willing and able to do the job.

Trusts allow almost complete flexibility.

Its terms can be created by your trusts attorney to be as broad or detailed as you like. It must be specific enough so that your trustee and beneficiaries understand what you want. It shouldn’t be so detailed that you make the trustee’s job practically impossible and beneficiaries can’t do what they must to benefit from the trust. The more frustrated the beneficiaries become, the more likely they might sue the trustee.

If you created a revocable trust, it should be updated over time.

Do you still want it to benefit the same people or charities? The same person to be trustee? If not, your trusts attorney can change it to reflect your current wants.

Did you fund your living trust?

It may exist on paper, but unless it’s funded, the trustee can’t do anything with it. Some assets, like real estate, are more difficult to transfer ownership to the trust, so it will take some time and expense.

Don’t use a do-it-yourself, online trust form.

It may not be legal, because it may not follow the most recent laws and court decisions. This is especially a problem when you use an invalid will form with your invalid testamentary trust form. Since they’re used only after your death, you won’t be around to change or correct them. Far more money could be spent or lost by your family and those you intended to be your beneficiaries than what you thought you would save by using these forms. Do everyone a favor. Hire a Missouri trusts lawyer. Attorney Kelvin Birk has “fixed” these situations several times after someone has passed, and the result is always very much more costly for the deceased’s heirs than what the person saved by using an online form. 

Our Trust Attorney Can Put Your Plans into a Trust That Will Benefit Those You Care About

A trust is a legal document that can help you reach your goals. They can be straightforward or complicated, benefit yourself or others, go into effect when they’re signed or after your death. Trusts are not just for the wealthy. They can be the way you help the people and charities important to you. To talk to a trust lawyer, contact the team at Birk Law Firm today at 573-332-8585. We’re here to help you and your family by drafting your estate planning documents to meet your needs.


Why Choose Birk Law?

Birk Law Firm is a small firm by choice that is big on client services. Attorney Kelvin Birk and his team are responsive to their clients’ needs. When we sign on as your law firm, you can count on us for strong legal counsel, from negotiations to settlement to trial.

Cape Girardeau Law Firm Kelvin BirkOur clients benefit from the intertwining of Kelvin Birk’s legal and CPA background and experience. We provide well-rounded advice to solve both legal and financial issues and to come up with creative solutions. We use modern technology to deliver legal services in a more efficient and client-focused manner than was previously possible.

We provide personalized and compassionate service. We believe that each client’s matter is the most important matter in the world to them, and we strive to treat it that way.


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