Discretionary Living Trusts A legacy for generations

Written by Trust Specialist, Mervin Messias, it is the culmination of knowledge and expertise that has been acquired over many years’ study and practice of Trust law.

The author recommends the use of Trusts as part of estate planning because they provide solutions to many potentially complicated problems related to asset protection, succession planning, and disability protection. Many little-known benefits of Trusts are revealed to help protect your hard-earned wealth for generations to come. A Trust circumvents the whole process of winding up an estate, together with its potential delays, hassles and frustration.

In fact, a Trust deserves pride of place in any estate plan. It means business as usual, even after death, with no executor, executor’s fees or estate duty.

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    Designing a Living Trust ...


    Designing a Living Trust Plan

    Designing a Living Trust Plan

    Mother Teresa said “what counts is not how much you give, but how much love you put in the giving”. Love not only prompts us to be generous in what we give but also to be responsible in why and how we give. The Scripture gives clear and specific instructions about our responsibilities in the matter of loving and giving.

    Saint Paul told his protégé, Timothy, “if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever’’ (1 Timothy 5:8).

    Many will read this article and walk away with the feeling that they should accomplish some estate planning and have every intention of doing so at a convenient time in the future. To them we would say “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” (Mathew 25:13).

    Designing a Living Trust Plan is superior to Wills and Estate winding procedures

    You need a living trust plan.

    • Fully funded Living Trusts can cost significantly less than Will-planning/ Estate winding up procedures.
    • Living Trust-centered estate plans are far more effective for disability planning than Will-planning/ Estate winding up procedures, which rely on curator proceedings.
    • Living Trust-centered Planning substantially reduces or avoids the short- and long-term delays that are implicit in Will-planning/ Estate winding up procedures.
    • Living Trust-centered estate plans can provide superior asset protection than Will- planning / Estate winding up procedures.
    • Will-planning/ Estate winding up procedures are a public proceeding that often discloses personal and financial affairs to the public. Living Trust-centered planning is far more successful in keeping sensitive financial and personal information confidential.
    • Will-planning/ Estate winding up procedures encourages litigation. Living trust-centered planning gives more assurance that planning efforts will be free of litigation.
    • Living Trust-centered estate planning is more effective for after-death creditor planning than Will/ Estate winding up planning procedures.
    • Fewer conflicts of law are associated with Living Trusts because the rules for determining their validity, interpretation, and construction are more liberal than those for wills.
    • Funding a Living Trust is the essence of proper planning. It produces far better planning results than does Will-planning/ Estate winding up procedures.
    • Living Trust centered planning is superior to Will-planning/ Estate winding up procedures for purposes of Estate tax planning.
    • A fully funded Living Trust is superior to Will-planning/ Estate winding up procedures because it enables business to proceed in the usual manner.


    The truth behind the winding up of an estate process

    This is about money —- your money. Will planning is expensive; advertisements for legal services contain the price of a simple will. Low fees are usually called “loss-leaders”. The theory is that, by preparing a will for a low fee, substantial fees are generated for winding up the estate. A will often means that eventually, when the person dies, there will be an estate winding up process. That’s when the drafters of cheap wills reap the rewards.

    Living Trust-centered planning is far superior to will/ estate planning. A properly completed Living Trust written by a competent trust specialist working in conjunction with other professional advisors is by far the most effective estate planning technique in virtually every estate planning situation.

    Today, a better informed public expects to avoid the expense and delay of the winding up of an estate process. There has also been a growing recognition by many sensitive and informed trust specialists that the living trust does indeed have many advantages over will/ estate winding up and other planning methods.

    Living Trust documents continue to be misunderstood by great many people because of tremendous amounts of misinformation being naively disseminated by the media. People can put emotion and caring into their estate plans through the proper use of Living Trust-centered planning.

    Many people try to accomplish estate planning without knowing what it is. It is important to define what estate planning is. Perhaps the greatest myth about estate planning is the perception that estate planning is confined to “death planning’.

    Traditionally, people viewed wills and winding up estates as the only acceptable technique for estate planning. Since wills take their lives from the deaths of their makers- the only time that wills can work on behalf of their makers is when their makers die-estate planning has been identified as death planning; no more, no less.

    Done the right way, estate planning is not death planning. In reality, estate planning is an act of love, not an act of death. People who care about themselves and others are far more likely to want to create a plan that preserves their assets and shares them with others in a kind and conscientious manner. Our definition of estate planning is:

    I want to protect and care for myself and my family while I am alive, and to leave what I have- and what is needed- to whom I want, the way I want, and, in addition, if I can, save legal fees, administrative and court costs, and taxes to the maximum extent legally possible.

    Living Trust-centered planning is the term we use to describe an estate plan in which a Living Trust is used as the foundation. A total estate plan requires additional documentation to make it effective for meeting the definition of estate planning.

    Trust planning is for almost everyone, rich or not.


    JD (Juris Doctor) / BA, LLB (Wits) / TEP (Trust & Estate Practitioner) / MTP (Master Tax Practitioner – S.A)