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STORM SEASON
Important Note:

June through November our agency may become prohibited from binding coverage should a “Tropical Disturbance” enter the Gulf of Mexico or Caribbean Sea.

In these cases we may be unable to bind new coverage quoted in open proposals until the storm leaves our area and our binding authority has been restored.

Please arrange your coverage protection early to avoid this type of delay. While we regret any inconvenience, the carriers impose these restrictions on all agencies.

Why Create an Irrevocable Trust?

Contrary to what many believe, you don’t need the wealth of a Rockefeller, Trump or Kennedy to set up a trust. Everyday Americans can also pass along cash, stock, life insurance policies, real estate and other assets to loved ones and charities using this valuable estate-planning tool.

Trust Basics

All trusts—irrevocable or otherwise—involve three parties: settlor, trustee and beneficiary. The settlor is the individual who funds the trust. If the trust in question contains your assets, you are the settlor. The trustee is the person you choose to be responsible for its management, usually a bank or attorney. The beneficiaries are the people or charities who will receive the assets included in the trust. In the case of an irrevocable trust, ownership of the assets transfers immediately from you to your trustee.

Why Create an Irrevocable Trust?

If you want to share your wealth with loved ones, you could just give them a lump sum gift before your death or outlined in your will. However, a trust offers benefits that cash cannot.

  • It prevents squandering – Because you set the rules when creating the irrevocable trust, you determine the distribution and use of the assets. This can ensure your heirs spend the money on a home, a college education, retirement, starting a business, caring for your surviving pets, or any other requirement you choose to specify.
  • It protects inheritance – If you leave assets to someone and they go through a messy divorce or lose everything after a bankruptcy, an irrevocable trust will protect the inheritance from their ex as well as any creditors. In addition, because the property in the irrevocable trust is no longer yours, your creditors will not be able to seize it to satisfy your personal debts either.
  • It provides tax advantages – Set up your irrevocable trust correctly and the assets your family receives can be exempt from estate and gift taxes. Removing assets from your net worth by transferring them into the trust may also move you into a lower tax bracket, reducing your own tax burden.

Build Flexibility from the Start

An irrevocable trust is exactly that—irrevocable. This means you cannot dissolve it or modify it should you change your mind down the line. Fortunately, you can build in some flexibility by designating a trust protector. This individual, usually a close relative or personal friend, oversees your chosen trustee.

Depending on the amount of power you grant the trust protector in your trust documents, he or she can terminate the trustee, remove a beneficiary, add a beneficiary, stop distributions, reduce distributions or change the terms of the trust. Through a trust protector, you can continue to protect the assets in the irrevocable trust both before and after your death.

Most irrevocable trusts require skilled drafting by an experienced trust attorney. While you can expect to incur substantial fees, they’re a small price to pay to ensure your assets continue to provide for your beneficiaries for years after your death.