Trusts are often included in wills, and often clients desire and/or the circumstances suggest the creation of stand alone trusts. Trusts can be custom made for unique circumstances and are routinely used to provide for minor children and for estate tax planning purposes. Often they are helpful when clients desire more active financial management from others or financial institutions. Clients may need to create special needs trusts for family members with serious disabilities who qualify for various public benefit programs, the goal being not to jeopardize the continuation of those benefits.

When clients desire to remain in full control of their assets and financial circumstances, revocable trusts might be appropriate. The creator of the trust (called a variety of names - grantor, settlor, trustor, etc.) may choose to fund the trust by retitling assets in the name of the trust. Or the grantor may choose to leave the trust as a structure to be used only after his death - to administer his estate thereafter for a period of years for the purposes indicated in the trust agreement (or in trust provisions contained in a will).

Revocable trusts may typically be changed as desired by the grantor, just as trust provisions contained in wills are fully revocable or changeable by a person who desires to change his will. Revocable trusts and wills may be changed any time by a person who has the mental capacity to understand and make substantive changes. Grantors are typically the trustees and beneficiaries of their own revocable trusts.

Irrevocable trusts are trusts created by a grantor who desires that they remain as structured forever (or as long as they are designed to last). Also, trust provisions included in wills typically become irrevocable (not-changeable) at the death of the grantor. Those types of testamentary trusts are designed to operate in accordance with the provisions included in the person's will - what assets are to be directed to the trust, who is to be the trustee, who is to be the beneficiary, and how long will the trust last? All these procedures are written into the trust document or into the trust provisions in a client's will, depending upon the wishes of the client.

Sometimes people designated as trustees need assistance in understanding their duties and responsibilities as trustees. Denise often works with trustees to help them set up the trusts, to make sure that assets are properly titled in the name of the trust, and to help trustees understand their various responsibilities, including the duties they owe to the beneficiaries of the trust.