Speaking the Language of Trusts in Virginia

AlphabetNING, Ding, Grat. Ilit, Crat, Crut, Qtip. And for those with short memories, Slats. Is this code? The output of a broken keyboard? No, they’re acronyms that are commonly bandied about when discussing trusts.

To be on the outside of a language can be a tough thing. At least when it comes to French or Italian (or Hindu, Swahili or Balinese, if you happen to be that well-travelled) most us of who can’t speak a lick can get through with pointing and smiling. However, when it comes to technical languages there is a different type of intimidation.

Without a doubt, the language of trusts is a technical language. In fact, this foreign language can intimidate even the savviest practitioners. The language of trusts is a powerful language and the trust, in its many flavors, is a powerful tool. How can you learn the lingo?

If you haven’t run into the technical language of trusts just yet, you should know that it is a world of acronyms and alphabet soup. You’d do well to have flash cards for a litany of trusts such as GRATs, CRUTS, CRATs, NING, DING, QTIP, and so on. Alternatively, you can learn a bit more of the lingo in a recent New York Times article titled “The Argot of Trusts, as Told in Acronyms.”

Each acronym and each form of trust for which it stands should be taken on its own to do it justice. Trusts are powerful machines that can be defined in very particular ways, not unlike backhoes, iPhones and particular accelerators. Each is a very different machine because it is made to do very different things. Such is the case with things like GRATs, CRUTs, and generic revocable trusts.

Don’t let the technical language get in the way, but do ask the right questions. Namely, what do I need to accomplish? What trust can accomplish my goals and is it the best route?  Not every trust is right for everyone or every asset, and some people will not be better off with a trust of any variety. Finding the right trust, or finding out if a trust is right at all, is about weighing your goals and assets. In this respect, a seasoned estate planning attorney is instrumental when it comes to teaching you the language, serving as translator, and forming the right plan for you.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.

Reference: The New York Times (March 28, 2014) “The Argot of Trusts, as Told in Acronyms



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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
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Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.